10 Ways to Improve Your Internal Benchmarking Programs

One of the most important pieces to managing your operations is to understand how your workers are performing, how costs are trending, and what to do based on what the data is saying. For companies that are just beginning to implement metrics and KPIs, the task can seem daunting. For companies that have utilized benchmarking for quite some time, they might have benchmarking that needs to be reviewed and evaluated. Consider these 10 aspects to improve your internal benchmarking programs.

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The Dangers of Choosing to Go Multi DC and How to Mitigate the Risks

Many retail and ecommerce companies are feeling more pressure to reduce time in transit to the end customer, pushing the operations to provide options for supporting this. Being closer to the customer in general is a good thing, but for many companies, this can lead to disaster. Because of the complexity, it’s easy to under-estimate the order processing, WMS, and process changes required; recruiting and hiring costs; additional inventory investment and the financial implications.  

It’s not uncommon for businesses to commit to multi-DC, only to have disastrous results which can cost the business significant cash and erode the customer base, or worse, put them out of business. Our objective isn’t to dissuade companies from going multi-DC, but to identify the risks, costs and where companies fail to properly plan and execute.

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4 Storage Options for Efficient Spare Parts Inventory Management

It can often seem overwhelming to try and find that one spare part needed in the vast sea of inventory that is the spare parts warehouse. As warehouse and stock room consultants, we see it all too often, thousands of parts in inventory with no real plan to store or organize them efficiently.

It may seem like it will never get better, but with the right storage solutions, your spare parts warehouse can be an organized and well-oiled machine, just like the ones your parts help to fix and maintain. There are many different solutions that range in cost and complexity. There is something available for all size parts and all size inventories.

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4 Ways to Prepare Your Operations for a Recession

It is hard not to conclude that the US will be in the midst of another recession based on the economic indicators. How major the financial impact might be, or how long the recession might last is less clear. Building operational resilience and developing problem/solution scenarios prior to a recession will allow you to be more nimble and weather the impending economic downturn.

It is important to have a plan for addressing these challenges versus just hoping it does not occur. “Hope” is not a strategy. The key is to include the various department heads early in the discussions; identify areas that should be reviewed; and develop a course of action.

Based on previous recessions, we have compiled a list of areas where operations should proactively address.

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6 Things All Fulfillment Centers Should Assess Today

As you and your operations team begin down the road of performing an operations assessment to improve warehouse logistics, it can quicky begin to feel overwhelming. If you know the right areas to cover and focus on, the process will be much smoother and produce better results. One key tip is to allocate certain parts of the assessment to different team members. Within any supply chain strategy, it is important to remember that data is imperative. The first step in your assessment should be to gather all important data related to the warehouse operations.

As warehouse consultants and having performed many assessments over the years, we have developed the following key areas that an assessment needs to cover.
 
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17 Ways to Save Money and Reduce Fulfillment Costs

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As part of our distribution consulting services, we have performed hundreds of operational assessments and identified several ways companies can save money through improved order processing and inventory storage.  We have compiled the following quick-hitting list that will assist in reducing your supply chain operating expenses and improving customer satisfaction. 

Key Principles to Assessing Your Warehouse Operations

Reducing Labor Costs in Receiving, Putaway and Replenishments

  1. Receive ASNs for inbound goods and begin scheduling dock times for receiving. An ASN can be as simple as an email stating that a PO is on its way from an inbound vendor, etc. This, along with scheduling dock times, will allow your operations to better plan labor around what needs to be processed, and if there is any critical inventory tied to backorders, etc., which will allow for prioritizing the workload.

  2. Utilize directed putaway for more efficient putaway from receiving. Directed putaway keeps certain items in a home location or zone and keeps workers from searching for an open location that is suitable for the inventory.

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9 Reasons To Audit Your Fulfillment Center Operations

fulfullment center

Over the years, many facets have changed within supply chains and distribution center operations. Wages and consumer demand have increased dramatically, however, the availability of quality labor to meet the order volumes and customer expectations are less than desirable.

It is imperative in today’s evolving supply chain environment to become more efficient and productive while making every effort to reduce labor and operational costs. There are many ways to go about this arduous task, but one of the first and most practical steps is to perform a warehouse operations assessment.

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7 Benefits of Using Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) in Your Operations

In the supply chain and across distribution centers, operations professionals are continually needing to maximize space, gain efficiencies and reduce labor costs – all while providing the highest customer service possible. As warehouse consultants we take an objective approach to solving these challenges with clients, which includes evaluating various storage and picking systems.

In our efforts to expose warehouse operators to a broad spectrum of options, we developed this article to help companies understand what is a Vertical Lift Module, and how Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs) could be implemented into the operations.

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What is a Vertical Lift Module and Utilizing VLMs in Your Operations

A Vertical Lift Module (VLM) is a high-density automated storage and retrieval system categorized as Goods to Person automation. Goods to Person systems bring the product to the picker who remains in a small footprint. These systems utilize the vertical height of a facility and will automatically retrieve and putaway the storage trays based on the logic within the onboard software. VLM software allows a worker to scan individual orders and retrieve the product for that order. Or to scan a batch of orders and the system will present all the trays needed to satisfy the batch, one right after the other.

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When to Consider an Assessment of Your Warehouse Operations?

Warehousing and distribution are dynamic industries, with many facets always in motion – whether it’s the changing supply chain to meet current constraints, continual shipping cost increases, or labor challenges that threaten to impede growth.  The operations in your distribution center must also change, driven by a mindset of continual process improvement as part of your overall supply chain strategy. 

All too often, we see operations that have become stagnant or once optimized but then managed and run the same way for many years with little change.  Many times, they have not stayed proactive, and their costs, processes, and systems do not serve the company well.

Distribution and Warehouse operational assessments allow companies to review the people, processes, layout, and systems to identify where, and how, changes should occur.  The goal of any operations assessment is to improve operational efficiencies; drive down costs; increase throughput while meeting or exceeding the customer expectations. 

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