“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 to say the least. At a minimize we needed to optimize storage.
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.
The first job I had at the beginning of my career was in the Materials Handling and Engineering department. As a part of my job I was responsible for Forklift and Material Handling equipment planning.
To help me understand this area better I took the Forklift driver training course just like anyone else would have to do. I was able to drive the truck and load and unload pallets from trucks and into and out of warehouse storage locations.
While I wouldn’t trust myself to drive a forklift these many years later I was reminded of the importance of forklift driver training and safety this week when I saw a short video of an absolutely horrendous forklift accident.