Long Technology Lead Times
The material handling industry is not immune from pandemic related demand surges and global supply chain interruptions leading to long lead times, opportunistic pricing by suppliers, and unreliable installation scheduling.
Many distribution operations finally stabilizing from a roller coaster year due to pandemic operational complications and drastic changes to demand patterns are looking forward to what promises to be a rowdy holiday season and finding that many capital equipment solutions that could help meet the expected elevated demand simply cannot be installed in time.
With Capex solutions just not an option, many distribution operations are searching for ways to control labor costs or even to find ways just to keep up with higher anticipated holiday demand. The good news is that a systematic evaluation of an operation can often uncover simple and effective ways to improve performance efficiency and capacity without capital equipment.
In addition to lead time benefits, many non-capital improvements such as improvements to systemic functionality as well as resource and shift planning also have the advantages of low cost and future flexibility. Flexibility, in particular, has growing value among our clients in the current environment.
An audit of the flow of materials through a facility often results in systemic improvement recommendations. As you follow the path of an item from receiving to storage, through the replenishment process and finally through picking and shipping, if you find instances where the path of the item is non-direct or if you find that there is excessive manual handling of that item, often the following example systemic improvements can have a significant impact:
Resources & the 24 Hour Clock
Although the ship has likely sailed for mechanical and automation solutions to be the answer to increased capacity this holiday season there are a number of non-Capex solutions available to operations through a systematic evaluation that are both effective and possible to implement before the onset of seasonal demand.
—Jason Gryszkowiec, St. Onge Company
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