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Updated: Nov 17

When running your warehouse there is often a constant push towards improving. In this post DCwise.eu gives some guidelines & pointers on where to look for solutions.


In what follows we share 6 concepts that are practically feasible and thus can be used to drive improvement.


1️⃣ Visibility

👉 Make everything visible!


The more visible the more clear for all; whether its for the operator or the process-manager... all will benefit and better perform. This "visibility" relates to what needs to be done, to what the current situation is, ...


E.g. you have a transport solution that requires to ship in blue boxes. Using the "KISSS" principle a brainstorm can lead you to appoint a fix loading bay&/door & hang a "blue box" above the flow or even paint the door blue. This will message to all that all boxes loaded should be blue.


⭐Practically:

- Following article goes into more depth on the visualization and gives more practical ideas on how to approach this topic.

https://www.wix.com/dashboard/f835f7f2-1462-42ee-b230-1b24fe8e7545/blog/5f102c4af269de0017d61976


2️⃣ Measurement

👉 Set up the right set of measurements!


As warehousing is complex measuring is essential. So setting up the right measurements to drive ideally a "cockpit view" on the operations should be one of your goals. This view should enable you to get in "one view" an idea on the situation, and drive you take the right actions.


⭐Practically:

- A good test for your selected set of measurements is to validate if they drive you to take actions. Note that data that can not be converted into information and in the end action has no added value. If never an action comes from a measurement then refinement might be in order.

- Challenge is also to the have the right number of measurements. Too few will not allow you to see the entire picture. Too many will drive confusion. One idea here to move forward is to work with high level measurements vs low level measurements; where the low level elements are only consulted when triggered by a high level "abnormality".

- But important is not to make the (needed) actions dependent of the measurements only. Many things can't be measured or the measurement might not be in place yet. Make sure this doesn't stop the momentum. There is nothing wrong with logical decision made from the gut...



3️⃣ Strategy

👉 Make sure to have a plan of attack!


You can have KPI's, overviews, etc. But in the end you need a "game plan". This on different levels: the general level - the "operational model" -, the daily level often called "shift plan" -, and so on.


⭐Practically:

- Take a white-board, excel file, etc and write down what the plan is. -> 5 FTE's on picking, 4 on loading, etc. This needs to be clear and needs to be shared with all concerned. While then its "available" for learning purposes & improvement.

- But as reality often differs from expectations you need to be able to adapt to the situation. In this make sure to discuss different scenario's and give ideas to the team on how to respond best. Like: when falling behind, who you can move from another task, what elements have priority, etc. In this leverage again the tools (whiteboard, excel, etc).

- In this the "game-plan" needs to be easily made from the "set of measurements. If not then these need to be aligned.



4️⃣ Communicate

👉 Important is to find a fitting communication strategy!


Shift starts and shift hand-overs, Gamba-walks, etc all have their meaningfulness. Find the method that works for your organization and make sure to do this investment in time. The more complex the operation the harder the communication might become. The smaller the more the communication can be overlooked. So try not to step into these pitfalls and find the right balanced communication that fits your operation. So make sure your communication strategy is adapted to the challenges.


⭐Practically:

- Create a (shift) report where the plan, actual run and issues met during the day are all combined driving that the next shift, management, support, etc. Such all involced / affected are immediately up to speed with what happened and can leverage this within their responsibilities. E.g. customer service coming in into the morning can immediately give feed-back why an order wasn't shipped informing the customer and allowing proper action.



5️⃣ Empower

👉 Make sure to dip into the power of your entire team!


They are living the processes every day and are you numerous additional eyes, give ideas, ... Empowered in the right way they will boost the operation extremely. Challenge here is getting "initiation", "capturing", and "execution" up and running. And once running key off-course is maintaining the motivation of the team.


⭐Practically:

- Focus as of the start on the elements that can be changed by the team.

- In this having only small budgets can already do wonders... ideally when setting up such an initiative a limited budget is allocated along side a the disposal of the users.

-



6️⃣ Open up

👉 By learning from others


As every good idea is based on one or more other ideas; it doesn't hurt to look outside of the own organization.


As warehousing is an integral part of many companies there is a vast population of organizations also tackling similar challenges. Don't step into the trap that your operation, product, etc is different and therefor there is no need to step outside of your bubble.


Instead open up to learning how others tackle their issues. As every new idea is just a combination of existing concepts... your next best idea can just lie/be triggered by something outside of your own walls. Or you might get validation on your own solutions which is also valuable.


⭐Practically:

- Schedule visits to other departments/sites/companies

- Go to fairs

- Bring in suppliers requesting their insights

and so one...


☞ You will see that applying these tips drives a more healthy warehouse operation!

Feel free to leave a message with your own tips & experiences towards improving your warehouse operation.

To further enable your transformation journey & understand better the potential of your operations feel free to get in touch in 👉 jan.baert@dcwise.eu or DCwise.eu

#warehousing #warehousesolutions #warehouseoptimization

Updated: Nov 9

DCwise.eu shares in this post ideas on how you can improve your solutions ➟

When running a logistical operation - due to its nature often a very complex environment - there is a major benefit to be received from setting up conveyors and slides.



1️⃣ The "Need"


Something peculiar is going on with slides & conveyors. Although as a kid everybody wants a slide and just seeing one made you smile; once you come into a logistical environment the enthusiasm is gone.


⭐ In this we might be overlooking a large potential for improvement!? ⭐


Today there is a lot of talk and direction towards mechanisation automation especially towards the newer AMRs, Drones, Robots, and much more. But there are few more simple ways to automate manual steps then by using slides/conveyors. This while they move your goods without much effort from point A to point B.


👉So in this blog post we suggest a review of the potential for these type of resources; wondering if it wasn't overlooked.


Note: as of now we refer to conveyors but know that this also can be a slide, ramps or other similar resources that facilitate movements.


2️⃣ The "Review"


Question is how to approach the review?

Start by looking at the repetitive movements in your operation as there are:

- (un)loading upon a dock

- moving boxes over a distance in receiving sorting/packing cells

- throwing waste in the dumpsters

- moving back empty totes/handling box to the workstations/cells

- moving pallets and boxes up and down between levels

- and so on


✔ Important first of all is to validate if the material is suited or can be made suited for conveyors/slides. Are these standard pallets or bulldozers? The first one is eligible the second one will be hard.


✔ Second element to validate is the volumes. What is the number of moves or frequency of use in this going from the same starting to the same ending point. The higher the volume the more interesting a conveyor or slide becomes.


👉 Where the review often breaks is that "all" volume is requested to move over the "tool". This includes the oversize, peakvolumes, fragile, etc... which might not match up with a standard solution. Often at this point the idea is dumped although the majority of the volume might be suited!


⭐Question is why not let that portion of the volume that fits move through the improvement and capture the related benefits. Practically there just needs to be left space for the remaining (exceptions) to move through another process.


Examples:

- Install on a limited surface/docks conveyors to cooperate with the (un)loading process. Oversize can be placed next to these docks and docking can be aligned to the different docks depending of the truck content.

- Use a slide from a second level mezzanine to supply only the "small boxes" to a packing station. The other orders pass through the current process of using a gate, elevator, etc


✔ Another element is the cost and ROI.

A gravity conveyor for boxes or pallets is not that expensive. Once that one can be supported by the improvements more complex concepts can even be reviewed.

Also a gravity conveyor is a good first step to become familiar and get acceptance.

Note: that it works well together with the automation (AMR etc) while the workload can queue (buffer) on these. Explaining why one sees a lot of conveyors in automation environments.


✔ Last but not least there is the acceptance.

With every new idea there is the resistance, opinions and fear ...

⭐ To overcome this why not install one testing ramp... use it, abuse it, and see how it works and fits in with your operations.

E.g. Just by installing maybe a drop with just 3 palletspots. This is also an ideal way to get familiar and the best end-result in place and work out the potential kinks before moving a larger impacting setup.


👉 For sure a good rack-supplier will assist in working out such concepts.



3️⃣ The modern variants


Its important to know that even the conveyor-technology is constantly evolving...


⭐ Modern conveyors are more flexible in nature then their older counterparts.


E.g. there are now (powered automated) conveyors which can be

- easily moved (while they are for example on wheels),

- easy to set up (while powered through one connection and a plug and play steering) - are made up out of "lego" pieces which are just connected to each other as per need.


👉Its easy to see that these types of conveyors can be used in flexible ways to support changing needs and processes over the course of time and again new opportunities are opening... while the volumes needed to pay back the investment become easier to be found.

This works immediately into the analysis of the volumes and the "from-to" relation. While before an installation might be fix in nature, now it can be moved and used to set as per need, as per project, as per job, etc.


☞ Now you should be (more) empowered to improve your operation and hopefully we will see more smiles and slides 😊

To further enable your transformation journey & understand better the potential of the platforms feel free to get in touch in 👉 jan.baert@dcwise.eu

#warehousing #warehousesolutions #warehouseoptimization

With years of warehouse process-, storage- and systems engineering experience DCwise.eu is there to support any warehouse operation to pick-up and deal with the current and future challenges. In this post we high-light the (regular) review of your warehouse Lay-out.



1️⃣ The "Benefits"

First of all why would you do a review of your warehouse lay-out?


✔ As per experience while an operation and its challenges are part of "living environments" (i.e. changing over time) the lay-out might need to be changed too to accommodate.


What a typical review does for you is improve your lay-out to claim following improvements:

➕ Safety => optimizing such people, resources and goods are more safe

➕ Space => as in better utilization of the available cube

➕ Processes => the better structured your lay-out the better the flow

➕ Operational control => more flow and overview means better management


One of the main elements to pick-up is that a lay-out review is like maintaining your "car". You can deal with it when you get it in trouble when it doesn't work anymore, but better is to regular take a look to prevent issues... So before your processing or storage space get into trouble "lubricate" your processes to keep them flowing.



2️⃣ The "Start"

Next question is then how to start with this? There are many ways, but lets for now assume that we have an up running layout and we would like to limit the (regular) review to the minimum.


👉One way to approach your warehouse lay-out in practical way is to link this to the more common "traffic element". In this you can start by asking the following types of questions:

✔ Does it flow?

✔ Can it take the different volumes? Or is there a frustration with regular congestion or even traffic jams?

✔ Is it safe? Are there many accidents or near-misses? Does the team feel safe?

✔ Is the direction clear? Do new-comers quickly see how to move through it?

And so on.


A very negative answer to one of the questions will indicate the urgency and direction where to look for improvement. Is the issue largely safety or more optimization related... this can be immediately linked to the need and depth of the review.



3️⃣ The "Review"

Once its clear what the goals and needs of the review are the next step is to start the review itself.


👉 A basic method to do this is to use value stream mapping; ie map out all the relevant (main) streams and quantify. This is then done at the proper level of depth (high level vs detailed) based on the previous. Make sure in this to get the relevant data; e.g. number of trips and make it graphical. Either right on a lay-out or on a simplified version of the lay-out.


Next question is how to analyse this?

👉 This is done by mixing following elements:

- the available data and its representation,

- a good understanding of the business needs,

- experience in warehouse processes,

- expertise in drawing lay-outs including leveraging warehouse "best-practices".


✔ Important during the lay-out review is to make the link with the other elements such as the processes, resources, etc. What is the capacity used of the resource, including driving aisles, etc. All needs to be in sync and supporting the overal warehouse performance. Start by looking at resources running at high and low capacities..

✔ Another indication for issues is "spaghettigi-flows"; meaning if there is too much movement back and forth, across, and so on there is a high risk for efficieny loss and safety issues.

✔ Depending the need and situation this analysis is done 2D, 3D or even 4D (taking time into account)..



⭐ Goal of DCwise is to help you build a healthy warehouse operation.

By now it should be clear that one of the main elements driving your operations health is the lay-out.


👉 If you want to know more see www.dcwise.eu or get in contact jan.baert@dcwise.eu


A specific project scope or starting from a "Facility Health Scan", we help in generating the plan and guide you through your warehouse transformation.


#logistics#warehouse#warehouseoperations#storage#transform

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