Warehouse Consulting Services are a great way to improve your warehouse operations and/or design your distribution center. This includes maximizing material flow through a facility, minimizing operational costs (such as labor), maximizing productivity and order accuracy levels.
Improve your Warehouse Operations – here are some ways to help you bring value to your warehouse and distribution operations.
Benchmark warehouse operations and costs – Benchmarking is a tool that allows us to determine whether we are “On Course” or “Off Course” and measure progress in a very objective way. If we are “On Course” stay the course, if not; then determine what it will take to get back “On Course”. This is one of those simple yet powerful principles… You can’t manage what you can’t measure!
Benchmarking in logistics organizations enables the company to constantly monitor and assess its performance and operating techniques against other logistics practices both within a specific industry (Retail, Wholesale, etc.) and against best of class companies.
Implementing Benchmarking in a logistics operation involves using the following major steps:
1. Choose which process or processes to benchmark. The choice can be based upon which function in the logistics organization is the most expensive to perform, causes the most trouble or has the greatest impact on customer service.
2. Identify the key performance variables for the selected functions. These items can include efficiency (timing, cost, productivity, etc.), quality (errors, customer service parameters, etc.) or cost (cost of outbound transportation as a percentage of company sales, cost per unit sipped, etc.).
3. Document the current processes, steps required and operations flow observing all physical activities and supporting information system interactions. This documentation should be kept at a summary, high level so as not to get bogged down with detail.
4. Identify competitors and best-in-class companies with whom to compare benchmarks. Best-in-class information is relatively easy to obtain. Many companies are willing benchmark partners.
5. Decide which competitor or non-industry practices or measures would be the most beneficial to a company. Choices should be based upon strategic quality and/or customer service and not just for cost cutting.
Distribution Center Design
To achieve any of the above, you need to find powerful & experienced warehouse consultants that specialize in these areas. I would also recommend asking your proposed consultants to offer references, real life Case Stories to demonstrate their abilities and most importantly to take you on some warehouse tours to see some real world stories in action..
Design new facilities (including space calculations) or redesign existing operations
Produce CAD facility designs for both physical layout improvements and new facility designs
Deliver improved layouts and operating plans for distribution centers emphasizing materials flow, staffing & equipment
Specify material handling equipment, storage equipment and warehouse automation
Perform analysis and recommend materials handling systems, operations, engineered work standards and management productivity control systems
I would also recommend a consultant who is familiar with material handling systems design capabilities.