Operational Assessment - Distribution Center A Safe Place To Work?

I will never forget this accident. On a Sunday I got a call from a client, “Can you come immediately to our operational assessment safetydistribution 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 >

Get Ready For Holiday Season - Conduct an Operational Audit Now!

Summer time is here, the kids are out of school, time to hit the pool, right? I know that you don't want to operational audithear this, but it is prime time to conduct an operational audit to identify those areas needing improvements. Believe it or not there are only 5 months left before the Holiday season is here again! Make certain that you have ample time to implement your fixes, develop strategies and plans for the distribution center. What are the objectives you and your management team have set for improving operations this year?

Here are a few areas to look at for your operational audit in order to determine what changes will be most beneficial to your distribution center and operations: 

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15 Ways Identified Through Operational Assessment to Reduce Expenses

Through the hundreds of operational assessment projects we have worked on over the years, we haveOperational Assessment Ideas compiled the following quick-hitting list that will assist in reducing your operating expenses in the distribution center.

READ: Key Principles to Assessing Your Warehouse Operations

Here is a summary:

  1. Efficient receiving. Inventory accuracy and product flow through the distribution center all start with receiving. The single biggest improvement companies can often make is to develop and implement vendor compliance policies.

  2. Reduce freight costs. Outbound freight now exceeds direct labor in many distribution centers. Don’t be too proud to ask a consultant to help reduce your cost of shipping and to help identify areas on your carrier contracts that will reduce your rates. Many times these consultants will work on a project basis or on a shared savings basis. There are too many dollars at stake not to have someone help you.

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What Is An Operational Assessment In Fulfillment?

As warehouse consultants, we work with a wide range of businesses, the discussions often surround topics such as, "How do we know if we are as efficient as we could be?  What do we need to change to support the business’ growth and order fulfillment needs?”  The short answer is typically companies need to perform a warehouse or distribution center operations assessment.  bigstock-Warehouse-managers-and-worker--154613405

So, what is an operations assessment?  It is a methodical and comprehensive approach to analyzing all facets of the operations – from organizational staffing, team members and people utilization; processes, and warehouse management systems; to the layout of the facility; and how material handling equipment and automation are deployed. The objectives are to identify all the ways in which the warehouse operations and the physical assets can/should be improved to meet both the customer’s and management’s expectations and requirements.   These recommendations should then be prioritized based on resources; capital expenditures required as well as benefits to build a roadmap for implementing the recommendations. 

When Should a Warehouse Operations Assessment be Performed?

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Operational Audit: Getting Ready for the Holiday Season

It seems never-ending, but yes, its time that you kick-off your operational audit in order to identify those Conduct Operational Auditproblem areas from this past Holiday season. This should give you enough time to implement any recommendations, plans and strategies developed to prepare for the upcoming Holiday season. What are the objectives you and your management team have set for improving operations?

Here are 8 steps for determining what changes will be most beneficial to your operations:

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Operational Assessment Shows Cost of an Error to Your Business

Many multichannel businesses are partners with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and big-box retailersbigstock-Portrait-of-screaming-business-64199725 like Sears, Walmart and the like.  With them, you’re not just processing orders, managing inventory and agreeing to performance standards.  Working with one of our clients recently in their call center’s support operations for their marketplaces, we focused our attention on the cost of an error.  

READ: Key Principles to Assessing Your Warehouse Operations

When was the last time you conducted an operational assessment to analyze the cost of various types of errors? Not just the number of times monthly or annually a particular error occurs, but what is the actual cost of that type of fulfillment error?  The types of errors I’m referring to are mis-picks, customers' lost packages by the carrier, packages damaged in transit, etc.  The best place to obviously capture these are in the call center and fulfillment center.  

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Warehouse Improvements to Implement Before Holiday Season

Believe it or not, there is still a window of opportunity to make sure you are ready for this Holiday Season. Just think back to last year's peak season for a moment. Can you and your business afford to have Round 2 (and for some of you it may be Round 10 or 12) of the issues that you faced in past peak seasons? You may have completed a brief post Holiday Season review of what worked and what needs to change in your operations. Dust off that document and review with management the outlined issues that occurred last year and the ones that still need to be addressed. This should be done before any other areas are assessed and tackled.

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Managing Your Warehouse Labor to Reduce Overall Expenses

Labor generally makes up 60–65% of the total cost of warehouse fulfillment (not including shipping). While hourly labor rates have increased 10% to 15% in the past five years, overall DC productivity has remained flat—so the cost per unit worked has increased. High turnover (15–25% or more in many distribution centers) adds even more costs. With most businesses struggling in the current economy, it’s imperative to get more from the resources you have.  Selecting, training, and retaining good employees is one key to controlling rising costs in the warehouse.

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Four Critical Areas to Evaluate in a Warehouse Assessment

There are four key areas that should be evaluated during a warehouse assessment. They make up the most critical aspects of any fulfillment operation. They are:

  1. Labor
  2. Facilities
  3. Workflow and procedures
  4. Systems

Labor is incontestably the most expensive area on your profit and loss statement relating to fulfillment, so it’s important to get the most for your payroll dollar. Labor, in turn, consists of four areas, the first two of which can be easily quantified; the others are more difficult to quantify but should not be ignored.

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Planning A Warehouse Move - Issues And Questions To Resolve

We recently have been working with a few warehouse clients that are involved in moving to a new warehouse facility. Along the way, it became apparent that the planning for the move required a lot more time and effort than originally thought. What seems like a simple concept can become a daunting task in a hurry.

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