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Involved in carry out, application and maintenance of the company processing system.
Manage business relationship with co-workers, stakeholders, suppliers and customers
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services, in the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods as well as building technology.
163 Ways to Supercharge Your Supply Chain (part 2)
Managing labor, technology, and equipment choices can make or break the success of your warehousing operations. These tips will help keep your facility running efficiently and effectively.
30. Analyze each operation and results. Identify areas where your organization is slow. Physically watch the overall flow of a packing process, then a picking process. Are products organized properly? Twenty percent of the total products account for 80 percent of all picking activity. Make sure these products are in the most ergonomically sound locations, and are given ample storage space.
31. Standardize your processes. Reduce potential variation in areas such as unloading, accounts payable, shift scheduling, and facilities management. Standardization saves time and money, and reduces errors.
32. Measure what matters. Gather real-time operations intelligence on warehousing processes, and establish key performance indicators. To support continual warehouse process improvement, and ensure business goals are being met, collect and analyze real-time data from order fulfillment technology and materials handling equipment. Benchmarking performance and analyzing collected data can facilitate more informed decisions about how to respond to changing customer requirements and business goals. If an outcome is not important to customers and shareholders, don't waste time measuring it.
33. Communicate effectively. Clearly communicating to workers your organizational goals and the processes to achieve them is one key to effective warehousing operations. When managers fail to create an environment of open and clear communication, employee productivity suffers, resulting in high turnover and wasted resources.
34. Offer robust training and reduce turnover. Create training programs that incorporate cross-training. Break a job down and present the operation to new associates. Allow them to test their performance before releasing them to the process. This is more effective than the traditional sink-or-swim method. It costs money to train employees, so you want to keep the ones you have. That means you need to motivate employees to keep them satisfied. This can involve monetary incentives, employee recognition, or special perks for great performance. Employee retention leads to a reduction in costs associated with hiring replacement workers, managing downtime for missing staff, or retraining warehouse employees.
35. Minimize the number of touches. Manual operations slow movement through the warehouse and can introduce errors. Automate picking, packing, and shipping processes to minimize the number of times humans touch products and orders.
36. Offload some processes to a Warehouse Control System (WCS). WCS solutions help manage materials handling equipment in real time, which will maximize system throughput and performance, and provide visibility to potential logjams.
37. Gain end-to-end visibility throughout the facility and processes. Eliminating silos in the warehouse—from the loading dock through delivery and transport operations—removes barriers to growth and innovation. In many organizations, supply chain executives and corporate operations plan independently, often negatively impacting corporate goals. Maximize profits and establish competitive advantage with cross-functional planning.
38. Automate your paper-based and manual processes. It may seem obvious, but many operations still use manual, paper-driven methods for putaway, picking, and gathering shipping information. Manual methods are time consuming and involve a higher risk of error. In addition, the data has to become electronic at some point in the process. Automated data-gathering extends the electronic environment out onto the warehouse floor, with information-gathering tools such as handheld scanners, bar-code readers, and other remote devices. These tools improve accuracy, make personnel more efficient, and help operations run smoothly.
39. Use Lean tools, such as value stream mapping, to create a blueprint for improvement. Value stream mapping is the process of establishing a clear picture of product and information flow. It depicts both current state and desired future state, in ways all team members can understand. The value stream map provides employees an overall view of all warehouse activities, allowing them to suggest improvements in other areas, as well as their own. Display the map in the warehouse so that employees are able to reference improvements and bring the next steps to life.
40. Implement standardized work. Developing detailed and illustrated standard operating procedures (SOPs) and standard work instructions (SWIs) for every job is a crucial step toward the quality goal of repeatable processes. With SOPs and SWIs in hand, new employees walk onto the floor with specific reference material to consult. This results in a shallower learning curve, and makes it easier for managers to monitor and assess performance.
41. Build quality into processes. Accurate quality measurement systems establish quantitative baselines and enable the organization to monitor the current status at all times. When a variance or mistake occurs, the team focuses on the process, not the person involved. Utilize a "Five Why's" investigation, where team members ask "why?" not once, but at least five times. For example, if a forklift knocks off a sprinkler head, you don't simply ask why it happened, but why the forklift was so high, why it was in that location, why the sprinkler head was placed there, and so on. Drilling down to root causes allows the team to collaboratively rebuild the process to prevent recurrence.
42. Aim for a just-in-time (JIT) strategy. Just-in-time warehouse management strives to eliminate the waiting, storing, and unnecessary movement of product, materials, or information. The goal is to establish as close to continuous flow as possible without constant movement and the need for intermediate steps. Stagnation in the movement of parts, people, process, or communication within the warehouse—for example, an email that sits in someone's in-box for three days—interrupts proper flow and can lead to process errors.
43. Understand the differences between wood and plastic pallets. Wood pallets are recyclable, can be repaired, are less costly, and can hold more weight than plastic. But they also give off moisture, splinter, harbor bugs, and contain fasteners that can damage products. Plastic pallets are durable, clean, bug-free, weather-resistant, and contain no fasteners. They also cost three times the price of wood, are not easily repaired, are not as stiff, and have fire safety ratings.
44. Recognize the environmental impact of your pallets. Plastic pallets have a longer shelf life and go back into the system, but if damaged they cannot be repaired; they are made from oil and must be melted down to be recycled. Wood pallets, however, are made from a sustainable natural resource and are easily repaired and recycled.
45. Examine pallet trade-off costs. If you move fragile products, weigh the cost trade-off. Is the cost of a pricier pallet higher than the cost of damaged products, shipment delays, and disgruntled customers?
46. When choosing a materials handling system, consider the products you manufacture and/or warehouse. Some solutions are more suitable than others for products requiring tight security, such as pharmaceuticals and biomedical shipments, or climate control, such as frozen goods; and uniform/stable loads that do not require frequent operator attention.
47. When purchasing lift trucks, factor in total lifecycle costs. Variable costs such as maintenance and repairs, energy or fuel, downtime, and rental costs to replace down trucks account for a large portion of total ownership costs.
48. Choose a lift truck that is technology-enabled. Look for compatibility with common wireless communication technologies, which allow you to collect real-time data from the truck.
49. Select a lift truck with safety features. Lift truck manufacturers continuously develop new technologies and ergonomic features to help reduce the likelihood of accidents and injuries. Look for trucks with features such as adjustable seats, rear assist grips with horn button, and tilting steering columns.
50. Look for a lift truck dealer with ample support. Make sure your dealer has enough technicians, parts inventory, and service vans available to service your trucks as quickly as possible, and factor the dealer's location into your purchase decision. Dealers should help you manage work orders, track repairs, and alert you to trucks that are overdue for general maintenance repairs. Also ask about aftermarket support, including warranty coverage, rental, fleet management, and complimentary products and services, such as battery fast-charging systems.
51. Make lift truck ease of maintenance a priority. Routine maintenance areas should be easily accessible, with features such as one-touch fuel tank brackets, no-tool floorboards that lift out quickly to expedite daily operator checks, and hydraulic filters located outside the hydraulic tank for easier service.
52. Calculate your investment. You can gain significant labor savings by implementing automated storage and retrieval systems, but a trained maintenance staff is required to manage these solutions. Determine return on investment by calculating what you can save on additional leased space compared to conventional storage methods.
53. Consider total ROI. Benefits of upgrading materials handling systems may include traceability, inventory control, and accuracy improvements; safer, gentler product handling; tighter security; and possible elimination of physical inventories.
54. Think through your warehouse lighting scheme. Increased accuracy, reduced rack damage, environmental benefits, and improved work environment are all factors to consider.
to be continued...