This service offer has circulated LinkedIn and the general www for some time. For picking operations, however, only one service is in demand:
GOOD and CHEAP and FAST!
A demand of this nature puts pressure on a business critical operation such as picking.
We know what the customer wants, so we have to find a way of delivering a good, cheap, and fast service, which will not only keep the customer happy, but also be profitable for the service provider.
To achieve this, the picking operation requires constant positive and constructive attention. Simply demanding more of the picking operatives and hiring the cheapest people is not enough and will not sustain the business in the long run.
It makes no difference if your picking operation is manual, part or fully automated, with or without mechanisation, running on paper pick lists or using scanners or voice technology – the customer demand remains the same.
Spot the symptoms and treat the root causes
The opportunities to provide a poor, expensive, and slow service are plentiful and sometimes we do not know that our service and efficiency has been sliding until we lose customers and our profits are down.
As technological advances are made, more and more humans are being replaced by various kinds of robots. This reduces the wage bill, but increases the maintenance costs and the risks of service failure due to technical faults.
The list of things that can go wrong in a picking operation is long, but if you keep an eye on five classic symptoms of a pick face in trouble, you are well on your way to running an efficient and cost effective picking operation that does not waste money, time and effort.
It takes a lot of effort to run and sustain an efficient and cost effective pick face and a fair amount of this effort takes place outside the actual warehouse as the above – non-exhaustive – list suggests. A warehouse or distribution centre cannot be run in isolation from the commercial side of the business. This applies whether you run your own distribution or are a 3PL.
Warehousing, distribution, and logistics operations have in general responded well to the customer demands only to see those demands getting tougher and tougher.
The service we are now expected to provide is:
GOOD – CHEAP – FAST – FLEXIBLE – SCALABLE
This is a big ask and to find out how close you are to achieving this, we suggest that you first undertake an independent and non-judgmental review to highlight what you do well and what could be improved. After that, it is a case of implementing agreed changes so that you will be or remain level with or ahead of the competition.
To find out how WBS can assist you in optimising your picking operation contact us for an initial FREE no-obligation consultation.
You can also read more about our Warehouse assessments on our website http://www.wbsgroup.com/Services/Assessment