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 >
As distribution center consultants we have been in a lot of facilities over the years, and have been
brought on to conduct operational assessments. Within these assessments we typically get asked to evaluate operations and warehouse managers and their skills. We have met a lot of managers with varying roles and skill levels. Throughout all of these operational assessments, there are 4 critical skills that we feel operations managers should possess in order to be successful. The days of top down, controlling management are hopefully far behind us. It is no longer the role of the manager to “keep the staff in line!”
Summer time is here, the kids are out of school, time to hit the pool, right? I know that you don't want to hear 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:Read More >
Through the hundreds of operational assessment projects we have worked on over the years, we have compiled the following quick-hitting list that will assist in reducing your operating expenses in the distribution center.
Here is a summary:
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.
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.
Is your distribution center running out of space? Did you feel the pressure of needed space this past Holiday season? Considering the following tips could add on two to five more years in your facility. Here are the top factors we review during an operational assessment when looking at warehouse layout to improve capacity.
Thoroughly understand the flow and utilization of the current layout, including rack configuration, slotting/pick philosophy, receiving, putaway, replenishment, inventory management, and packing and shipping. Include peak seasonal trends and a thorough volume analysis of inbound and outbound product flow.
It seems never-ending, but yes, its time that you kick-off your operational audit in order to identify those problem 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:
Many multichannel businesses are partners with marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, and big-box retailers 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.
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.Read More >
With the continual increases in the costs of oil and its effect on shipping rates, companies need to conduct a business-wide assessment in order to reduce your shipping costs. Here are 15 short- and long-term options
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.
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.