January 27, 2010 No comments yet

Training is important if you want to have consistent results.  For training to be effective you most have a training manual with full descriptions for each task.  This is what the teacher should use for each instruction session.  The common practice of having a new hire work with a more seasoned staff member does not assure that the process will be executed the same way that you intended.  Furthermore, training needs to be tested and reinforced when necessary.  A significant part of every supervisor’s job is to observe how tasks are done and note how the individual performs in relation to the written method.  If what the employ is doing yield better results, change the written method and re-train the rest of the staff.  If the results are not better, re-train the employees.

Rack opening size

August 19, 2009 No comments yet

Whenever you make changes that increase the spacing between beams in pallet rack, go back to your rack supplier and make sure that the changes will not reduce the weight capacity of the rack system.  This is particlarly important if the bottom level is enlarged.

I need more space!

August 7, 2009 2 comments

Before you go looking for more space, be sure that you are using what you have well.  The first place to look for space is slow moving inventory.  Rank every SKU in storage by turns.  Start at the bottom of the list and ruthlessly evaluate the value of keeping the inventory.  Seek the help of the company’s total management team in these decisions.  Every SKU eliminated is one more position available for active product.  And once you have a process in place, do this review at least once a year.

Partial pallet turnover rate

July 29, 2009 No comments yet

All warehouses have partial pallets occupying full pallet positions.  This may be no more than a statistical element in calculating warehouse utilization if the facility is operating comfortably below it’s maximum effective working capacity.  When the warehouse is nearly full, partial pallets can have an impact.  It may be useful to compare the cost of relocating material to the cost of keeping the partial pallet in place.  The three principle factors in the calculation are:

  1. The partial pallet turnover time. This is the number of days that half pallets or less remain in storage.
  2. The cost of  relocation calculated as the fully burdened labor cost of moving the partial pallet to a half pallet size location
  3. The daily cost of a pallet location.  For this, cost I use the total non-labor building costs of the storage space; i.e., total building cost time the percent of the building used for storage all divided by the number of pallet locations.

When the partial pallet turnover times multiplied by the daily location exceeds the relocation cost, it is time to create a partial pallet area near the picking and shipping operation.  I chose this location because the partial should be the prime next use location.