E-Commerce Fulfillment (Part 1) – Optimize Your Warehouse Storage Locations

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“We just spent several millions of dollars on a new Warehouse Management System for our E-Commerce Online Distribution Centre.  We do not need to spend any more money on our Supply Chain.” That sounded very intriguing.

The E-Commerce business anticipated 20-30% year to year growth. I could only interpret, having just joined the company, that all of the steps and planning needed had been taken.  We had to ensure that the Distribution Centre could handle Holiday volumes, especially over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday period.

However imagine my surprise when I went to the Online Distribution Centre.  All I saw was a very large warehouse with nothing but racks and shelving as far as the eye could see.  Employees were pushing carts up and down aisles, across the entire warehouse.  They were trying to find each of the products required to fill a particular customer order. The company had just invested in an expensive Warehouse Management System.

Yet  no time or money had been spent on process optimization, order fulfillment cycle time reduction,  cost reduction, or peak capacity load management.

We were in for a hectic Holiday season, at best! Continue reading “E-Commerce Fulfillment (Part 1) – Optimize Your Warehouse Storage Locations”

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Naming Your Project Will Rally Everyone To Your Cause!

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“I’d like you to join our company.  One of the Projects you will lead is our ‘Productivity Initiative’.  We need to transform all of our business processes and culture and improve our efficiencies everywhere.”

Wow!  What a great challenge and opportunity to make a difference.  But calling it the “Productivity Initiative”?  That was as inspiring as watching paint dry or grass grow.

“I’ll do it!  But we need to give this Project a NAME.  A NAME that will inspire people, motivate people, and capture the essence of the change and cultural transformation that we are looking for.  And this can’t be an ‘Initiative” … it has to be an ‘Imperative’ … this is not optional … we have to transform the business and we need everyone to rally around our cause! Continue reading “Naming Your Project Will Rally Everyone To Your Cause!”

Inventory Turnover Breakthrough (Part 1) … Go Back To The Basics!

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I had accepted a career changing challenge … how to change the company’s Inventory Turnover performance from being perennially worst in the Industry to being one of the best.  And I had to do it all within 1 year!

I had seen many very smart people tackle this problem over the years.  Yet they all seemed to come up short.  Sure they improved some aspect of Inventory levels or turnover but in aggregate these all seemed to amount to incremental, step function changes.  We needed game changing results!  We needed a game changing approach!  And we needed it now! Continue reading “Inventory Turnover Breakthrough (Part 1) … Go Back To The Basics!”

Lean in the Back Office … Why is it so difficult?

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Implementing a Lean program on the Manufacturing floor, in a Warehouse operation, or in a Distribution Centre is challenging enough.  There are a series of process steps in which materials are transformed or moved in some fashion.

And your Lean program has at its core the objective of making these operations as efficient as possible. But when you try to apply these same Lean principles to the support organizations, or the back office, you are likely to experience a wide range of reactions.

So why is it so difficult to implement, and sustain, a Lean program in the Back Office of your organization? Continue reading “Lean in the Back Office … Why is it so difficult?”

Change Leadership (Part 1) – The Call To Action … Where It All Begins!

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“The Board is REALLY upset.  They want a plan to dramatically improve our Supply Chain inventory turnover performance and they want it now.  Will you lead this for me?”

My boss had just got out of the Board meeting and these were his words to me.  The company had historically performed very poorly in managing inventory.  And it was not only consuming a lot of cash but it was impacting our profitability with the high carrying charges and write-offs.  Also it impacted  our competitive position as customers and competitors didn’t believe we knew how to manage inventory, and Supply Chain, very well.

This was a Call To Action! Continue reading “Change Leadership (Part 1) – The Call To Action … Where It All Begins!”

Change Leadership (Part 7) – Project Prioritization Simplified!

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We had the “Call To Action” from the CEO.  The business needed to be transformed to support growth.  And the business needed to be financially stronger and much more productive.

With the mandate established we had named the change initiative that we were about to launch.  We had enlisted leaders from every functional organization.  And we had began to roll out our communication strategy.

This project involved every employee, every function, and every process in the company.  We needed a simple way to prioritize all of the projects that we were about to undertake. Continue reading “Change Leadership (Part 7) – Project Prioritization Simplified!”

Procurement (Part 1!) – The Spend Aggregation Obstacle Course!

The theory is simple! If you can increase spend levels through centralized spend aggregation across entities then you increase your leverage in negotiations. This leverage should translate to lower costs and better terms and conditions.

These entities may be different departments or facilities within your own company. They may be different companies under common ownership. They may be disparate companies within an industry. Or they may be unrelated companies spanning many industries.

The benefits seem clear. So why is there so much resistance when it comes to trying to aggregate spend across these entities?

Continue reading “Procurement (Part 1!) – The Spend Aggregation Obstacle Course!”