How to improve your manufacturing company’s shipping and receiving methods
Why shipping and receiving affect the whole process
A recent idea that reduced product weight by 60%, lowered fuel bills, and lowered tire costs by 6%. With a fleet of over 100 vehicles, this is just a small project idea in five that comes out of a high-impact change management program. Internal procedures and methods are easy to follow, but difficult to turn into reality. Whether you’re starting from scratch or reviewing existing systems, this list of general guidelines is a helpful guide. Equipping and designing becomes considerably easier when you have a map with a clear route marked out for you. Established as a 10-point list of general rules and consequences, the idea is to help you think through subject titles and support the thought process in an orderly set of steps. This method will help produce a workable system with a minimum of the shocks and surprises that inevitably haunt all change management. All quality systems benefit from fully thinking about the job. Micromanaging the process now will save you a lot of money and time later, and equipment selection will be much less hazardous.
Design – Start with a design for the entire system; otherwise, you will find at your cost that changes rarely affect just a small area of your business. Rule 1, therefore, is not to play with small areas of malfunction because it is likely to make things worse.
Traceability – If you don’t have time to get it right from the start, where will you find the time to get it right? Rule 2: Spend some time thinking about how to return what you sent your customer to your supplier without going broke in the process.
Driving – If you think the storage and handling systems are expensive, wait until you pay the bill for labor, injuries, duplicate and damaged inventory. Rule 3: Design your operation so that you can efficiently handle performance. Everything in its place and one place for everything … including battery charging! (18 months ago, a few weeks after receiving delivery of their new forklift, one of my clients allowed the battery to die. This truck cost almost £ 38,000, replacement batteries were under £ 5,000. They also lost a a long time while things were sorted out).
Smallest unit of measurable cost – How much control do you need? Palette or pint size, do you sell bricks or diamonds? This is the size of your reports for your monthly performance review and it seriously affects how you interact with your distribution and support logistics work. Rule 4: round the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves
Storage – Considerations for this include on-site or off-site stores, work in progress, and what you expect vendors and customers to have for you. Never put away junk or old stocks, get rid of them and use the cash or space for something more productive. Rule 5: be very sure of your operating space needs. These are your fixed overhead and if it doesn’t work, you will find these costs expensive and risky. Use other people’s overhead as a low-cost first option before committing to long-term leases. Fixed costs have that title for a reason!
Picking systems – Writing is faster than walking, so start with a well-thought-out, efficient list. Avoid warehousing or production work at the same time as picking work. Make sure your shelves have all of your picking requirements ready for picking. Keep stock recognizable for both picking and counting, whether it’s by eye or scan. Keep stocks within reach of collectors or harvesting machinery. Rule 6: apply the Grand Prix principle, the fastest action engines get pole position!
Team – You will need it. Rule 7: Treat your company like your children. Get the best out of it and keep discipline and training top of mind. If you think training is expensive, you cannot afford ignorance.
Packaging – This requires that the product reaches its destination correctly identified and nothing else. Make it like Christmas for the new owner but at the same price as Christmas paper. When it is opened, it must have that magical Christmas pleasure and, like Christmas, if it is to be thrown down chimneys, it must protect itself from Santa’s little helpers and the blows of the reindeer. If you are going to send as many Christmas presents as Santa, make sure you have good crossing and sorting systems that do the counting and sorting quickly. Rule 8: Think about the journey from the platform to the opening ceremony. You don’t want it back to pieces. Sending goods twice wastes resources and alerts the customer to potential system problems.
Packaging – This is an operation and should flow with everything at hand and with as few process interruptions as possible. Quickly connect to issue invoices or content notes, or receipts if prepaid. Rule 9: Make packing as continuous and uninterrupted as possible as it reduces errors due to distractions.
Minimum order values – Add the time it takes for your product to invoice according to the activity. Add them in the minimum amount that produces enough gross profit to pay them off or make it your minimum charge regardless of the amount, then factor in goodwill … or not! Rule 10: Study your order book carefully and make sure the value you add covers your costs.
Bonus idea – All systems must consider the environment. All systems must allow for an orderly workplace. Make sure your products are well protected but easily accessible. Products that have their own boxes or cases should consider the ongoing environment and function, staying current and well supported with maintenance and application ideas. Do not miss the opportunity to let the user know what else you do, especially if it improves their day.