Archive for Warehousing – Page 2

Hiring Effective Temp Workers for the Warehouse

I heard an interesting speech by the director of logistics at a consumer goods company at the S&OP Innovation Summit. Like many companies, this company has highly-seasonal demand. To meet this demand at the warehouse, the company relies extensively on temporary workers. This is a story of how this warehouse went from a highly ineffective process for sourcing temporary labor to a highly-productive process. Before the company improved its hiring process, it had turnover of […]

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A Revolution is Coming to the Spare Parts Warehouse

Inventory management is very difficult in a spare parts warehouse. For example, if you are a car or truck manufacturer, your warehouse network needs to carry spare parts for a vehicle you might have stopped making decades ago. Further, your network of dealers and repair shops don’t want to wait for spare parts; industry standard is to provide them with next day delivery of requested parts. What this means is that a spare parts warehouse […]

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Kiva Systems Acquired at a Very Steep Price!

Amazon.com’s acquisition of Kiva Systems keeps coming up in my conversations with industry peers and colleagues. Kiva is a provider of advanced robotic material handling systems — or looked at in an alternative way, the company brought to market much more intelligent Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGVs) than we had seen before. Adrian wrote about the acquisition shortly after it occurred. Now I’d like to add my two cents. Back in 2009, I wrote a Strategic […]

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Guest Commentary: Cultural Transformation is at the Core of Continuous Improvement in Warehousing and Distribution

Today, more than ever before, companies are looking for ways to implement Lean manufacturing concepts into their distribution and warehousing network as a way to control costs and improve operational performance. This research often leads to the purchase of new technology or equipment. But while investment in these tools might create incremental savings, there’s a far more effective resource that’s often overlooked: employees. The successful implementation of Lean in a warehouse setting truly begins with […]

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Guest Commentary: How Flexible Distribution Has Supported Overstock.com’s Rapid Growth

I think one of the toughest tests for a WMS implementation team is supporting a high growth retail customer through its busy season, which is what we did with Overstock.com during the December busy season in 2002 and 2003. In 2002 Overstock.com had annual revenues of $92 million. By 2010 the company had grown to $1.1 billion. Although Overstock.com’s growth has dramatically changed its product mix and distribution processes, it is still running the same […]

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Guest Commentary: Transportation and Mobility – On the Truck, in the Warehouse, and with the Workforce

Supply chain operators put food on their tables every night by considering enhancements in efficiency. So when the word “transportation” comes up in a meeting, most people think first about planes, boats, trains, trucks, deliveries and packages. However, the fact is that efficient transportation is at the heart of every supply chain process – not only on a delivery route, but also in the warehouse and in the store. And that’s the reason mobile technology […]

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Creating Waves of Work in the Warehouse (Part 2)

When it comes to supply chain management, anytime you can take discrete pieces of work and group them together intelligently, you have the opportunity to optimize. The more time you have, and the more discrete pieces of work you can group together, the larger the potential savings from optimization.  I recently wrote about waving in the warehouse. Wave management is based on intelligently grouping together a batch of warehouse activities for later release to the […]

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Ergonomics and Warehouse Robots

I believe mobile robots will eventually change the face of warehousing. Kiva Systems, for example, has developed robots for each picking that can retrieve a small, square rack with multiple slots. The robot brings the rack to the worker, spins it so the correct facing is towards the picker, and then the slot to be picked lights up. Alternatively, if you were building mixed SKU case pallets, the robots would retrieve a pallet and bring […]

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Improving Productivity in the Warehouse

Productivity improvements are based on increases in output per hour. A company can’t improve warehouse productivity to the maximum extent possible if it doesn’t understand the places where time is being lost. So, what are the main sources of productivity losses in the warehouse?  Here is how I think about it: The chart above contains so many ideas, it could serve as an outline for a book. But for today, let me just provide some […]

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Compliance is Top Priority at Chemical Warehouses

Last year, I interviewed several warehouse managers in the chemical industry to learn more about their operations and how they are using supply chain execution (SCE) technology. Chemical manufacturers, distributors, and logistics service providers (LSPs) all operate chemical warehouses which differ in complexity. At one end of the spectrum are distributors (or LSPs that handle chemicals on behalf of manufacturing clients) who receive containers, usually drums, from suppliers and then reship them when an order […]

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