Updated: Jun 23, 2021
When setting up a new warehouse operation - due to its nature often a very complex project - there is a major benefit to be received from involving experience. Like when building a new house where you will involve experienced builders & architects...
In this post we give 7 guidelines & pointers on how this "challenge" can be made “smoother”.
1️⃣ Proper analysis
-> All starts from doing a proper analysis to determine the needs. Based on this the processes can be determined and if need be (re-)designed. So just copying ... is the first step towards falling in the pit.
=> So, advice is to do the right level of analysis. This does not mean it needs to be much in depth; the appreciation of the current solutions, the future changes, etc. all will guide you to do the right level of assessment.
-> A large stress is on the design; this includes all that is needed; from processes, over resources, etc. If you already have goods processes matching the requirements and challenges of the new site, then you are on a fast-track towards process-design. If not, make sure to properly approach this.
Note: the design of the building - driving important elements such as walking distances etc. - is often skipped but should also be part of a review & optimization strategy. This to optimize the internal as external (yard etc.) operations as well. E.g., Where to put access-doors for the drivers... on many occasions just the placement / relocation of 1 entry-door might make the flow much more fluent.
Other example is the types of trucks that need to be received. Multiple are the sites where larger trucks can't (entirely or just properly) turn etc. while this was just overlooked.
=> Know that the building architects might not be process-knowledgeable; making that a limited alignment can lead to the evasion of many pitfalls.
3️⃣ Validate the design
-> Important is also to validate the process design with the business users, suppliers, EH&S/SHEQ, etc. ... You can have a superb solution, but if not accepted then what will be the end-result?
=> So, make sure to share the solution. In this make it visual. Go over the flow with the help of lay-outs and graphical examples. As such ahead of time they can indicate concerns, give pointers, ... and become part of the "process engineering".
4️⃣ The right level of detail
-> Noticeable is that many operations that are setting up a new warehouse are focusing on the large elements such as racks & rolling equipment, but medium elements are overlooked. Think in this of process equipment, process instructions, reversed logistics (e.g., garbage cans), ... all essential tools to get the processes done.
Other projects go into the highest possible depth up to creating humongous shopping-lists ... and all overview and clarity is lost.
=> A proper approach is to first list all important needs & then step by step go through them. In this a brainstorm involving the shopfloor can be a great assistance. You could call this determining "the full solution".
5️⃣ Go-live plan
-> Once the Go-live approaching a go-live plan is to be put in place. This includes among others on-boarding and training, but also ramp-up strategies. In this last element a lot can be mitigated and a large impact on the end-result can be achieved. Many customers will be more suited with knowing there will be a planned reduction in services (such they can mitigate & communicate themselves) then being confronted with unexpected. Also keep in mind that it is a ramp-up...
6️⃣ Stabilization (& Exit) plan
-> Once live; it is important to stabilize the operation first. Have a timeline and goal by when you want to be stabilized. During this time leverage all kinds of support methods, e.g., bringing in experience (from already converted sites).
=> Do not run away too soon or too late. Challenge is to find the right balance in exiting (at least if you are a pigeon). At this time, you need to validate if what was expected is matching reality. Think in this of the volumes & types of processes needed. If expectation does not match reality there might be a need for a correction (of the parameters, the means, or even the processes).
7️⃣ Bring in/build experience
☞ Overall you will see that - when rolled out successfully - it is a like building your own house. After your first experience you know what you would do differently the next time.
=> So last tip is to fast-track on this and as of the start bring in experience or build it by doing it step by step. 😊
⭐ Now you should be (more) ready to go-live or at least be able to foresee some pitfalls!
To enable your transformation journey and prepare better for your future feel free to get in touch in 👉 firstname.lastname@example.org