Don't Overlook These 7 Areas for Warehouse Savings
(Boonton, NJ, February 20, 2009) There's no doubt about it: DC managers are feeling the pinch of a tight economy. The annual Looking Ahead Survey of industry newsletter, Distribution Center Management, asked readers about the biggest challenges they face in 2009, and most simply wanted to stay in business.
So we asked the experts on our editorial advisory board for advice on how to stay productive and profitable no matter what the state of the economy. Here are some of their best tips:
- Use any slow time to review your process flow, recommends Susan Rider, president of Rider & Associates. Look for cost reductions in every area, including paper reductions, energy costs, touch time reductions, and redundant processes.
- Geoff Sisko, assistant vice president with TranSystems | Gross & Associates, says now is the time to maintain your equipment. Incurring small costs to repair and maintain your existing equipment will prolong its life, reducing the need for large capital investments in an uncertain economy.
- Make sure you communicate with your staff about how the company is doing, says Mike Coronado, director of distribution for The Container Store. The uncertain economy means employees will be uncertain about the future. Communicating regularly will help ease some of their fears.
- Justify all your investments, says Rick Goone, regional RDC manager for Anvil International. If you're implementing a new technology or spending money to improve a process, make sure you calculate an accurate return on your investment to get what you need out of the initiative.
- Pat Kelley, founder of the Labor Development Group and director of logistics with True Value Hardware, advises implementing individual incentives. It will help retain employees and give you the biggest "bang for your buck," he says.
- Focus on reducing your variable costs, says Tom Tanel, president and CEO of CATTAN Services Group. While you can't change many of your fixed costs, you can look for ways to reduce your variable costs to help get through lean times.
- Establish metrics, advises Jim Tompkins, CEO of Tompkins Inc. That will help you identify wasted handling and movements, and help you review your processes to find new efficiencies.
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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.