Optimize your Warehouse into a Weapon of Competitive Advantage
Tips to Grow your Business #6: Optimize your Warehouse into a Weapon of Competitive Advantage
At times when sales growth is slow and margins are getting thinner, you can look at improving your warehouse operations as a way to reduce waste and prevent unnecessary additional expenses. The additional cash from operational savings will surely make any business owner very happy.
Warehouse Operations as a Competitive Advantage
An optimized warehouse can help you deliver faster and cheaper than your competitor. In this era of instant gratification, this could be the edge that could put you ahead of your competitors. Imagine if you could answer, “Yes, we have it stock and we can deliver it to you this afternoon at 3:00 pm” and your competitor gives the usual answer of, “I think we may have it somewhere in back of the warehouse. Let me check and I’ll text you next week.” Who do you think will get the order?
Lower you Inventory Costs
Another advantage could be better use of your financial resources. Instead of purchasing stocks just in case, you should maintain just the right inventory to keep your customers satisfied. Having less space will force you to use better inventory methods and focus on keeping your stocks flowing instead of sitting around getting older. You have a better chance of avoiding the FISH syndrome (First In Still Here).
What are these sources of savings?
The savings can be found in lower costs of rental, electricity, equipment, labor and security. A LEAN approach towards developing an optimized warehouse system could result in your needing less space that you originally thought. Less space used often translates to lower operational costs.
What are these LEAN approaches?
LEAN in the warehouse means using a structured approach to identifying and removing all waste in warehouse operations. It means using proven tools to improve warehouse operations. These tools include value stream mapping, kaizen, poke-yoke and applying 5S as an ongoing process to keep the warehouse clean and orderly.
How to begin?
Training is the key to beginning to LEAN your warehouse operations. The solutions can be best developed by your own warehouse staff that has been trained in the LEAN approach. One of our seminar participants proudly sent me a power point of how she had begun the optimization of her company’s warehouse. Instead of having stocks piled haphazardly all over the warehouse floor, she now had all stocks in racks, well ordered aisles and an optimized document flow. She could now find items very quickly and dispatch them to her customers earlier than before. When her management saw the productivity she was generating, they were very happy to invest more in modern racking systems and equipment because they now had a system that could deliver productivity predictably, reliably, and measurably.
More tips to come
These are just some of my thoughts on how you can improve your office productivity. I will be writing more in the next few weeks.
Rafael M. Pefianco
Rafael M. Pefianco MPM FAAPM is a Mechanical Engineer by training, Master in Project Management, a Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management and an international trainer. He has an extensive background in manufacturing, sales, distribution and training. He has worked both in the government and private sectors. He is an International trainer whose passion is to enable Filipino professionals to reach world class levels by sharing the insights he has gathered working and teaching abroad and in the Philippines. His clients include major manufacturing and distribution companies here and abroad. Please click [Background of Raffy Pefianco] to read more about him.
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