15 Tips to a More Effective Distribution Center
A fast-paced session titled 60 Ideas in 60 Minutes for Your Distribution Center at the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Las Vegas, left attendees with a bevy of new strategies and solutions that they can implement in their businesses. Timothy Holody, COO/general manager of cross-channel retailer Seta/Palm Beach Jewelry, Lance Curran, warehouse director of online apparel retailer Threadless; Mike Peel, director of small parcel solutions at C.H. Robinson Worldwide; and Ed Hathaway, vice president of business at Logistech Solutions dispensed the tips in rapid-fire format. Here are just some of the tips:
1. Assign an aisle to each employee in your warehouse. Make that person responsible for the cleanup of that aisle, said Holody. As an incentive to keep your warehouse clean, reward prizes to the employees with the cleanest aisles.
2. Teach your warehouse staff to look for signs of fraud when filling and shipping orders, said Curran. Following up on Curran's thought, Holody suggested rewarding employees who catch a fraudulent order with some sort of bonus pay. They're saving you money by identifying instances of fraud, so give them a piece of those savings, he added.
3. Again addressing the issue of fraud, Hathaway advised that attendees should build a functionality into their databases to flag potential instances of fraud in all order fields (e.g., address block), not just the country code.
4. Stop doing a year-end physical inventory audit, Holody said. Cycle counts are more accurate and timely, he said.
5. Consider rail for your transportation needs, said Peel, noting that this is particularly relevant now with the rising fuel surcharges traditional carriers are charging.
6. Organize your warehouse so that your fastest moving products are close in proximity to your pickers, said Curran. For Threadless.com, this means the products are displayed on its homepage.