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Archives for May 2011

You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Rush Hour Occurs Inside the Building

By Kate Vitasek | 05/31/2011 | 7:17 AM

I’d like to introduce Ram Krishnan, a new contributor to the Bad Warehouse stable of experts who know how to turn your bad warehouse into a smooth-running operation. Krishnan heads Karma Logistics Inc.

Ram relates a common problem he has seen often: the “mad rush” by forklift drivers and order pickers at the start of a shift. This creates congestion and inefficiency in the aisles and is also a safety issue.

Ram writes: “Congestion always results in excessive picking time.

“You may run out of stocks in the pick slots. The forklift driver making the replenishment may be slow in this congested aisle, causing both mark-outs and stock-outs. This may lead to partial orders picked and shipped.”

The solution? Ram recommends that at the start of the shift, when the congestion frequently occurs, stagger the first few work-assignments. Instead of starting the pick sequence with Assignment 1,2,3,4,5 etc.,  pick in the sequence of 4,5,1,2,3 etc.

“Instead of forcing every store (or trailer) order to start their Assignment 1 always at the beginning of the aisle, start with the 4th assignment, which may begin at different slots that are staggered.” The diagram shows it graphically:

Changing the first few order picking sequence can achieve greater efficiency while avoiding congestion. Thanks Ram, very scientific!

The WERC Best Practices guide jibes with Ram’s advice: “One consideration for slotting is to reduce travel time or labor associated with picking and replenishment. To reduce travel time, most companies start by looking at product order patterns and product velocity through the warehouse. The fastest-moving items are located so that the least amount of travel is required to pick or pull product for replenishment.” These prime locations can include the first bays in an aisle, storage close to central conveyors or areas closest to shipping or assembly cells.”

Also, place product at the best ergonomic levels and balance prime locations aisles, flow racks and shelving “to reduce labor and equipment congestion and conflicts.”

I really love your feedback - and love your contributions to share those bad warehouse stories to help educate the profession on what NOT to do, and maybe what to do if you’re not doing it.

If you've got an example of a bad warehouse practice, send me your story and photo(s) to [email protected]. If I feature your example in one of my blogs, WERC will send you a free copy of the WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide (a $160 value).

Your submission can be anonymous if you like so you don't get your boss or company in trouble! I'll be collecting examples all year and the winner will receive a free WERC Warehouse Certification Assessment by Supply Chain Visions, a $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).”

You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… Junked Pallets Fill The Building

By Kate Vitasek | 05/16/2011 | 5:00 AM

Stacked-pallets-871284454673hD0M
Sometimes even the briefest of stories reveals huge warehouse problems as this one related by Tim Feemster, SVP, Director Global Logistics at Grubb & Ellis, when I talked to him at the Warehousing Education and Research Council’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, CA.

Let’s listen to what Tim said:

 

Thanks Tim for sharing that really bad pallet practice. One really has to wonder what they were thinking! No good can come from a stack of useless pallets that almost certainly will delay or prevent efficient picking and packing operations, induce congestion and impede warehouse efficiency. It’s also a safety issue.

As the WERC Best Practices guide says: “Good housekeeping must be part of any best-in-class warehouse. Best-in-class processes cannot succeed in a workplace that is cluttered, disorganized, or dirty. Poor workplace conditions lead to waste, product damage and safety issues; such as extra motion to avoid obstacles, time spent searching for things, delays due to defects, machine failures, or accidents.” Establishing basic workplace conditions is an essential first step in creating a safe and productive warehouse environment.

Paying attention to warehouse layout is a process of avoiding clutter and maximizing productivity on a daily basis. Most companies put great effort into the initial layout and storage scheme of their warehouses but industry surveys indicate that as many as half the companies do not have an ongoing process in place to review their layouts.

Yes, dealing with empty pallets—junk or not—is a continuing problem, but storing them in the middle of the warehouse floor is not the answer. How about recycling them?

I really love your feedback - and love your contributions to share those bad warehouse stories to help educate the profession on what NOT to do, and maybe what to do if you’re not doing it.

If you've got an example of a bad warehouse practice, send me your story and photo(s) to [email protected]. If I feature your example in one of my blogs, WERC will send you a free copy of the WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide (a $160 value).

Your submission can be anonymous if you like so you don't get your boss or company in trouble! I'll be collecting examples all year and the winner will receive a free WERC Warehouse Certification Assessment by Supply Chain Visions, a $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).”

 

You Might Have A Bad Warehouse If… You’re Not Certified!

By Kate Vitasek | 05/02/2011 | 5:00 AM

Transparency is an oft-used buzzword in logistics and supply chain circles that probably is more wished-for than actually implemented.

It’s really tough to have a collaborative, efficient end-to-end supply chain framework without flexibility and transparency on the part of companies, suppliers, service providers and warehousing operations.

The best way to implement and assure real transparency at the warehouse level is to get it certified. Solutions_industrial_warehousing

The WERC Warehouse Certification Program is a voluntary facility certification program that certifies an individual warehouse facility’s capabilities and its ability to perform core warehousing functions.

The program provides an industry standard grading methodology that includes facility inspections and process assessments by independent third parties. Auditors benchmark and grade warehouse operations against a 5-point scale.
What does the WERC audit include? Download a sample of the information included in a WERC audit report here.

For me, getting your warehouse certified means you have nothing to hide, that your operation is transparent and complies with industry best practice.

What is prompting me to emphasize this point is a recent post from author and blogger Seth Godin that talked about a growing anti-transparency movement in the medical profession and in the Iowa and Florida legislatures. Apparently thousands of doctors have signed up with Medical Justice, a company that wants to restrict online patient reviews. Medical Justice sells contracts to doctors that either expressly prohibit patients’ online reviews or permit patients to post online reviews so long as doctors can remove them whenever they want. This is justified in the name of greater patient privacy.

Similar attacks on truth and transparency are occurring in Iowa and Florida, where state legislators are considering bills that would ban the undercover filming of animal agriculture. In mid-March, the Iowa House passed a bill that would prohibit the production of visual or audio records of an agricultural operation without the owners' consent. The Florida Senate was considering a similar bill that would require owner consent, in writing, for recording of agricultural operations.

Certainly there is a delicate balance between fairness, the right to privacy and the public’s right to access information that has a direct impact on health, well-being and buying decisions.

But imagine if a commercial property owner refused to divulge any information about its propertes or was legally enabled to bar the collection of information by independent third parties while restricting any comment about its operations.

In the long run, transparency and accountability increase product and service quality, value and profits far beyond the costs of building and maintaining barriers around the truth or shoddy behavior.

As buyers increasingly understand that there are good warehouses—because they expect and ask providers to get certified—you will see bad warehouses disappear.

I really love your feedback - and love your contributions to share those bad warehouse stories to help educate the profession on what NOT to do, and maybe what to do if you’re not doing it.

If you've got an example of a bad warehouse practice, send me your story and photo(s) to [email protected]. If I feature your example in one of my blogs, WERC will send you a free copy of the WERC Warehousing & Fulfillment Process Benchmark & Best Practices Guide (a $160 value).

Your submission can be anonymous if you like so you don't get your boss or company in trouble! I'll be collecting examples all year and the winner will receive a free WERC Warehouse Certification Assessment by Supply Chain Visions, a $10,000 value. The runner up will win a free conference registration to the WERC conference (a $1,375 value).”

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.



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