I understand that each company is unique and diverse, but each has a common purpose to deliver successful results. So how does an organization measure success, both personally and professionally?
I recently met with a client to understand their workflow process in a finished goods distribution environment. I was asked to provide alternative solutions to solve a problem that my competitors had unsuccessfully addressed. I asked several questions related to business goals and objectives for short-term and long-term growth strategy.
I asked the client about the performance of his business on the manufacturing side, knowing that this company has had a long-standing history in the local community plus a global reach. In a matter of minutes, the client explained that the manufacturing side of his operation was the most challenged right now as approximately 40% of his top 500 SKUs were on backorder. I was blown away.
Redirecting Resources for Results
Naturally, my next question was why and how do you fix this issue? “The complexity of having many geographical locations coupled with the dearth of skilled labor in a manufacturing environment was their biggest problems, he explained. “I need to figure out how to cross train and reallocate labor from one value-added activity to other facets in our manufacturing processes. That’s our best shot at fixing this problem.”
I understood immediately that the best possible ROI for this client was going to be provided by an increase in productivity to address current and future challenges, both on the manufacturing side of their business, as well as the distribution end.
In the goods-to-person picking world, one of the first acronyms I learned and live by is known as S.P.A.C.E.
- Space: saving or reducing the footprint to introduce revenue generating activities
- Productivity: increasing throughput while reducing or reallocating labor
- Accuracy: reducing mispicks while improving inventory efficiency and accuracy
- Control: access to valuable items tracked and safely stored reducing shrinkage costs
- Ergonomics: safe delivery of product, reducing workplace injuries/workers comp and creating an environment that reduces turnover
Customized End-to-End Solutions
In conclusion, the knowledge gained by understanding the client’s operational process from beginning to end helped us design the solutions provided. The horizontal carousel we provided has been recently redesigned to achieve greater throughput in an order-rich environment. This approach will provide the client a two-thirds reduction in labor requirements, allowing these valuable human assets to be redeployed. This productivity boost greatly reduced the backorder issues, resulting in greater success for the company, employees, and most importantly, their customers.