Improving Putaway: The Root Canal Technique
(Boonton, NJ, April 3, 2009) When the economy turns down, DC managers are often asked to tighten their belts and perform the same work with fewer resources. But according to Pat Kelley, founder of the Labor Development Group, nimble DC managers don't waste much time bemoaning such a fate; instead they attack waste, benchmark for best practices, and, best of all, take a fresh look at the less exciting parts of their operations.
In an article in the April issue of industry newsletter Distribution Center Management, Kelley notes that managers don't always give their full attention to inbound receiving and putaway.
"Order filling has always been sexy," Kelley says. Lines per hour, cartons, pieces or picks per hour; these things have always made our pulses race and we've all spent large chunks of our careers figuring out how to jump start order selection. It's where the action is."
But shrewd DC managers also turn the same enthusiasm to the more mundane area of inbound receiving. If you want to get excited about it, Kelley says, just calculate what a 10 percent improvement to inbound labor - particularly in the area of putaway - means to your labor ratio.
Kelley says you can make those improvements with something he calls the "root canal technique." This involves freeing up at least 15 to 20 percent of your space in reserves. It's like a root canal, he adds. No one wants to do it, but the end result will help you drastically improve putaway.
To read the full article, "Using the root canal technique can improve putaway productivity," click http://www.distributiongroup.com/articles/DCM0409persp.pdf.
About the Distribution Group
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.