How to double your warehouse productivity in a dash
Productivity of workers in South African warehouses is in some cases believed to be as little as a third of that of their overseas counterparts. This, together with a big increase in labour costs, high fixed costs, labour instability and supplier unreliability makes warehousing – which is one of the most important links in the supply chain – also its most vulnerable.
“There are however much that warehouse operators can do to improve their productivity,” says Martin Bailey, SAPICS board member and chairman at Industrial Logistic Systems.
Bailey will present a workshop entitled 20 Steps to Productivity Improvement in Warehouses at the SAPICS 2015* conference, taking place from 31 May - 2 June at Sun City.
“Worldwide, labour is often the biggest risk when it comes to running an efficient operation,” says Bailey. “But, by implementing some very practical systems and processes, it’s possible to double – and even triple – one’s productivity in a very short space of time.”
- Education and training
According to Bailey, warehousing still suffers from a poor image, causing companies to neglect its people when it comes to education and training. “This is changing as companies start realising that every supply chain component needs equal attention,” he says. For this reason, he emphasises the importance of education and training in improving productivity.
- Measurement & incentive schemes
“With the correct management tools in place, it’s possible for SA warehouses to become globally competitive,” says Bailey, referring to practical tools such as measurement.
Once one knows how much workers are doing (or not), one can then incentivize them to reach targets. “A major SA supermarket chain does this so well that most warehouse staff skip lunch and push to work overtime in order to earn more money!”
A major trend abroad is warehouse automation. “The cost of automation has decreased dramatically in recent years. And, with the promise of improved productivity and reduced labour costs (by as much as 90%), it has become a viable option for many.”
Becoming more customer-focused
Maintaining a ‘people over pallets’ philosophy, Bailey says becoming more customer-focused is another way of increasing the overall effectiveness of the supply chain.
“Since the warehouse is often the final interface between the vendor and the customer, it just makes sense to use this opportunity to deliver better service along with goods,” he says.
In a case study that will be examined during Bailey’s workshop, he refers to an SA retailer that has greatly improved its efficiency by ensuring that products leave the warehouse in a sale-ready format, so they simply need to be wheeled down the aisles at their destination.
“Such innovations come from simply making the effort to understand customer needs, right down to what kinds of trucks their warehouses can receive.”
Another major global trend that Bailey will discuss is e-commerce. He says that what happens in warehouses today is increasingly being dictated by end consumers. “We used to deliver truck-loads, but now we deliver single items in a shorter space of time than before. For this one must have excellent IT systems and well-trained people,” he says.
“In the end, it becomes clear that the success of today’s warehouse operations depends more on the calibre of its people and their commitment to great customer service than simply the number of packages they’re able to store and dispatch,” Bailey concludes.
Want to find out more? Catch Martin Bailey at SAPICS 2015*.
The presentation by Martin Bailey at SAPICS 2015 is entitled: 20 Steps to Productivity Improvement in Warehouses. This three hour workshop focuses on providing warehouse operators with a set of practical guidelines on how to optimise warehouse operations, removing operational constraints and optimising costs. Much of the workshop focus is on customer service and operational benchmarking. Delegate takeaways: • Practical tools to improve warehouse operations. • Methods to improve customer service
For more information on the 37th Annual SAPICS Conference & Exhibition, being held at Sun City from 31 May – 2 June 2015, please visit www.sapics.org.za.
*SAPICS Conference and Exhibition 2015 – The Pulse of Africa’s Supply Chains – 31 May- 2 June 2015, Sun City. For more info and to book, visit www.sapics.org.
Africa’s leading event for Supply Chain and Operations Management Professionals, the Annual SAPICS Conference and Exhibition is the premier educational and networking event in Africa for Supply Chain and Operations Management Professionals. It offers practical and relevant information through excellent educational presentations, case studies and interactive workshops.
About Martin Bailey
Martin has developed Supply Chains for the Who's Who of SA Industry. He has designed and implemented over 400 warehouse facilities in South Africa, Middle East, Europe and Australia. Martin is actively involved in education for the past 30 years and is ex Chairman of SAIMH, LISA, Vice Chairman of CILTSA and ex Member on Council of ECSA and SAIIE
MEDIA CONTACT: Cathlen Fourie, 012 644 2833, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.atthatpoint.co.za
For more information on SAPICS please visit:
LinkedIn: SAPICS group
ABOUT SAPICS – your supply chain network
SAPICS is a professional knowledge-based association that enables individuals and organisations to improve business performance. SAPICS builds operations management excellence in individuals and enterprises through superior education and training, internationally recognised certifications, comprehensive resources and a countrywide network of accomplished industry professionals. This network is ever expanding and now includes associates in other African countries.
The annual SAPICS Conference is the leading supply chain event in Africa. The 37th SAPICS conference will be held 31 May – 2 June 2015 at Sun City and promises to bring together a wide variety of local and global speakers to discuss solutions and best practices in the supply chain management field.
APICS is the leading professional association for supply chain and operations management and the premier provider of research, education and certification programs that elevate end-to-end supply chain excellence, innovation and resilience. APICS Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) designations set the industry standard. With over 37,000 members and more than 250 international partners, APICS is transforming the way people do business, drive growth and reach global customers. APICS is based in the USA and has a broad global footprint.