To say 2020 was a curveball most businesses would be a gross understatement. While Americans suffered and many small businesses closed permanently, multichannel businesses as a whole saw significantly higher volumes, largely from direct-to-customer orders. The difficulty was in trying to keep workers safe and have enough labor to ship customer orders without falling more than a few days behind. For some clients, the goal was to merely not fall more than 10-14 days behind.Read More >
Many managers look only at the negatives when talking about warehouse productivity. But, most people want to be in alignment with your productivity goals and to contribute in meaningful ways to the success of your business.
As I conduct an operational assessment with companies focusing on benchmarking and productivity, I find many companies do not openly share their warehouse KPIs and results with employees. Many don’t even have a formal, weekly process for capturing and reporting the KPIs. Those that do a good job of the weekly reporting often don’t have department and individual employee productivity goals and don’t publicly publish the results. You can’t improve something you haven’t measured.
The biggest challenge you’ll face in relocating a warehouse is disruption to your business. If you are fully invested in inventory at an existing 3PL or your internal facility, how will you transfer inventory to start up the new facility without having to shut down for days or even weeks?Read More >
If you’ve been around long enough, you recognize that there hasn’t been enough experienced management in retail, catalog and now e-commerce operations for decades. With the Internet growth over the last 15 years, management turnover and the lack of highly qualified managers is apparent and may be holding your company back.Read More >
Though it may seem like your business preparation for peak season 2016 is over and you’re focused on execution, peak season 2016 is not over yet!Read More >
For operations professionals in multichannel companies, we all know the drill, the risks and rewards of Christmas. While the time for changing the warehouse layout or adding storage capacity or automation may be past, here are 17 important last minute ideas an operational assessment will identify that everyone can implement to improve productivity and reduce costs.
While conducting hundreds of operational assessments for clients, we have found that the highest benefit areas you can affect during the Holiday season are managing labor better (it’s more than 50% of your cost per order) - in particular the pick and pack departments which are more than 50% of your labor costs. Also, working with shipping carriers - probably your highest overall cost – on your Christmas plans pays off too.
Here are our top 17 picks to improve your operation this Christmas:Read More >
We all know the value of our employees, department and senior managers to our businesses. Within most warehouses you can find staff that is dedicated and has longevity with the company. These individuals can most likely tell you exactly where most SKUs are located in the warehouse, which vendors have the most vendor compliance issues, and who the fastest pickers and packers are. This type of knowledge, “tribal knowledge”, is what makes things click in the warehouse.
But for many companies, a negative form of tribal knowledge is a detriment to the short term and long term health and throughput of a company.Read More >
The Republican debate failed to focus on this key issue that I think is brewing in this election cycle and for the economy. We first wrote about this topic when Seattle adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage for restaurant workers in March 2015.
Two weeks ago, news outlets sounded the alarm again about the possibility of $15 per hour minimum wage. Presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) supports raising the federal wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) want to push the minimum wage to $12 per hour. President Obama has edged up his support from $9.00 to $10.10 and now $12. Hillary Clinton backed $15 per hour for New York fast-food workers on July 24th, but hasn’t specified a wage floor for the nation. From an implementation objective, the full effect of proposed increases are often stair-stepped over 3 to 5 years.
Budget experts and many Republican candidates warn such a hike could eliminate millions of U.S. jobs.Read More >
Industry Question: My company has just acquired another catalog and the inventory is pouring in. Management has challenged the distribution center with fitting the new business in our existing footprint until we see if it is going to be successful. I think we are getting close to storage capacity. Do you have any tricks of the trade?Fulfillment Doctor’s Answer: Captain Kirk stated it better than anyone - “Space, the final frontier!” The question you ask is one we get asked during an operational assessment we conduct. It is rare that we meet a warehouse manager who isn’t trying to fit 10 lbs of product in a 5 lb sack. Here are several tips which can help you to maximize your distribution center capacity. Read More >
I will never forget this accident. On a Sunday I got a call from a client, “Can you come immediately to our distribution center?” several hours away. Literally a wall of improperly stacked product had collapsed from cartons being crushed. The falling wall created a “domino effect” knocking down 8 aisles of 3 level pallet racking. Luckily no one was hurt or worse – killed. True story.As we do operational assessment for clients, we see many issues routinely that need to be rectified. Read More >