Major players like Amazon and Walmart have distribution centers all over the world, pumping out packages at lightning speed.
If you want to keep your customers satisfied, you need to keep things moving in your warehouse or distribution center. Use these tips to keep up the pace and make your facility as efficient as possible.
It’s been a tremendous start to our second year at Supply Chain Game Changer. Our goal has always been to share experiences and expertise, including our 2018 Top 10 list. In the first half of 2018 our readership continued to grow substantially over our first year, 2017. And we were selected as one of the Top 25 Procurement blogs in the world.
In 2018 we added video content and introduced our “Seasoned Leadership in Action” Interview series. For the purpose of this Top 10 List we have excluded all “Seasoned Leadership in Action” articles as we are not trying to promote a popularity contest amongst individuals. That being said the response to the Interview series has been absolutely outstanding.
We also continued to add more and more Guest posts provided by industry leaders. We have 17 new Guest contributors so far in 2018 on top of the outstanding roster of contributors who started with us in 2017.
As we end the first 6 months of 2018 we wanted to publish our Top 10 List, so far.
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Network optimization is a critical issue across all Supply Chains. In Manufacturing, Distribution, Logistics and Retail the effectiveness of your network will make the difference between success and failure.
There are many environmental factors that must be taken in to account in order to define and optimize your network. Your business may be growing or declining. You may be expanding into new channels, such as E-Commerce, or you may be pulling back. And you may have just received a cash infusion allowing you to invest more, or you may have enormous cash and profit pressures forcing you to ratify your network.
Whatever your situation your network must continually be optimized. Your facilities, whether owned, rented or outsourced, are the living organism which make up your network and define how your company goes to market.
My first Management job was on the Manufacturing floor on 3rd shift. It was company policy … anyone’s first Management job was in Manufacturing. The principle was sound: to really understand how the business operated you needed to be at the very core of what it did, which in this case was Manufacturing. Only then could you really learn the business and how to work with people.
So as I started a new job further along in my career, with responsibility for Distribution Centres around the world, I knew that I was not going to learn what I needed to know from behind a desk looking at Powerpoint slides with pictures and statistics. I needed to go to each and every facility and learn about the operation right from the floor.
We had to begin the transformation of the company’s business processes to support the new business objectives. This would mean value stream mapping the current state process. Specifically the company was going to carry a dramatically different set of products which required a new set of capabilities in Strategic Planning, Merchandising, Marketing, Procurement, Inventory Management, Retail Operations and Logistics.
That scope defined the set of processes we needed to change first. The overall goal was to enable the transformation of the company which would manifest itself in higher revenue, improved growth and profitability, greater customer satisfaction and superior employee engagement.
We decided to attack this by introducing the Lean technique of Value Stream Mapping to the organization. We had to start with mapping the Current State process.
It’s been a tremendous first year at supplychaingamechanger.com. Our goal has always been to share experiences and expertise. And in the second half of 2017 we had an ever increasing number of articles contributed by industry leaders all of whom have been very generous in sharing their intellect and insights. This is our second 2017 Top 10 List.
Our readers and contributors come from all over the world. They include individuals new to Supply Chain as well as Industry leaders and everyone in between. And they work in many different industries and vocations. But they all have a common interest in Supply Chain, Operations, Business, Leadership, Change Management, Human Resources, Transformation, and Technology.
Most importantly they all have an interest in learning and sharing.
As we end this first year we wanted to publish our 2nd Top 10 List. Our first Top 10 List covered the Top blog posts from the first half of 2017 so our 2nd Top 10 List will cover the second half of 2017.
Wow! This was the headline caption on the presentation I was about to see. I had just joined the company. I had just spent the last few years in Retail. I had done a lot of research on how to improve efficiencies and productivity in Online/E-Commerce Fulfillment Distribution Centres. And I had lived through the agonizing process and resource challenges of fulfilling E-Commerce orders during the Holiday season, which is far and away the busiest time of the year in Retail.
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. Try implementing Lean in the Back Office.
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?
We had completed value stream mapping the current state processes across some very significant business processes in the company. It took a fair amount of time even though we had the active involvement of subject matter experts and leaders from every functional organization.
When all was said and done the current state involved hundreds of process steps, almost 200 pain points, and dozens of iterative, repetitive loops. The company was just being introduced to Lean process improvement techniques. And as challenging as it was to reach a common understanding of what the current processes were the difficult part was about to start.
First, a “Prime Objective” of the Shasta EDC is job growth in the manufacturing and technology sectors, including the use of collaborative robots. This is our key focus. However, the recruitment, retention, and expansion of our companies is equally important.
There is obviously a symbiotic relationship between employer and employees. However, from time to time there are talent gaps that emerge and technologies that force us to rethink our approaches to business.
Data shows that the number of manufacturing jobs are declining, and the jobs that remain are shifting to a mixture of the traditional and tribal knowledge around manufacturing and a blend of technical knowledge that helps to augment current manufacturing with the practical application of emerging technologies.
How many times have you looked at your Distribution Centre operation and thought about how you would re-layout and streamline the process flow if you had the chance?
When you are starting with a new, empty facility it is clearly much easier to layout the operations to make the best possible flow of materials and processes. But when you have an existing operation which has evolved over a long period of time, you are likely faced with utilities, equipment, infrastructure, walls, and paradigms all of which have resulted in a rather inefficient flow of materials and people and processes.
This was the situation we had in one of our Distribution Centres. In this particular Distribution Centre the current layout of the operation had been the result of many iterations of adding new customers, new products and new processes over time with the associated fluctuations in demand for everything.
Yet with the launch of our Global Process Excellence project we had unleashed our employees to make the improvements they had imagined could be made for a long time.
The modern supply chain grows increasingly complex with each passing day. The digitization, focusing on fundamentals and change, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and many other factors are transforming how the agile supply chain functions.
Once, the lean supply chain was considered to be the most effective form of manufacturing and supply chain management. However, a new concept in supply chain processes, the agile supply chain, is quickly growing to replace the often overused term.
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.