BPO Bulletin

There is a Better Way: How To Improve Your Warehouse Operations with Culture Optimization

by Ken Neal
June 8, 2021

My colleague at Canon Business Process Services, Jerod Jordan, likes this quote from Thomas Edison: “If there’s a way to do it better…then find it.” To this Jerod adds, “Well, we did find a better way, for warehouse management and materials management at least.”

The Dreaded Compromises

Jerod is referring to the fact that, for decades, many organizations have had to compromise either control or capability when trying to resolve their struggles with labor and/or inefficiency within their warehouse environment. Warehouse leaders have outlined how third-party logistics providers require them to do things either “their way or no way” and how staffing companies thrive on providing just “feet on the floor and no more.” According to Jerod, one former operations executive described the situation this way: “When our warehouse is operating below expectations, it feels like our organization is trying to ride a bike uphill on two flat tires.”

The struggle of muscling through each day and the pressure of not having the time and resources to resolve a multitude of problems have left many warehouse operations leaders stressed, overworked, and frustrated. Whether it is inaccurate reporting, high training costs, continuous high levels of worker attrition, disjointed material movement processes, sub-par inventory management, or lack of viable technology solutions, organizations needing help to resolve these issues no longer must compromise by dealing with the limited options offered by staffing companies and third-party logistics providers.

Warehouse Culture Optimization

Now there is a better way: Canon’s warehouse culture optimization approach. It is a special focus within our integrated warehouse and distribution center service that was created because Canon listened to warehouse leaders. These executives would often describe how they dreaded the limited capabilities and high turnover of contingent labor agencies, as well as the typically constrained approaches of third-party logistics providers marked by unclear metrics and reporting and inflexible, siloed practices. “We don’t view warehousing as just traditional shipping and receiving,” notes Jerod. “Instead, we reimagined warehousing as a core business support unit aligned with a company’s goals and vision spanning operational, production and financial business processes.” He adds that years of experience partnering with warehouse and distribution center clients has enabled Canon to empathize with warehouse operations leaders and better understand how to alleviate the burdensome stress and complexities that they deal with every day.

Focus on Progress

Warehouse culture optimization revolutionizes how companies evaluate, diagnose, and make progress with their warehouse environment. Canon serves as an integrated resource with a laser-like focus on delivering quality results, performance management, and optimal flow designed to support an organization’s core business demands. Driving our approach is an “open secret” among many warehouse leaders: to achieve desired results and outcomes, organizations must understand the collaborative relationship between their warehouse environment and core business such as sales, marketing, manufacturing, and logistics.

The Trade-off

From the client’s point of view, there is a trade-off when it comes to working with a service provider like Canon. On the one hand, the organization must share its warehouse operations responsibilities and challenges with us. On the other hand, our expertise and resources become their expertise and resources; our subject matter experts and Six Sigma black belts become their subject matter experts and Six Sigma black belts; and our next generation talent recruiting and retention capabilities become their next generation talent recruiting and retention capabilities. By providing a highly trained staff, proven processes, and best-in-class technology, we enable an increased supply chain velocity, accountability, and efficiency.

The Payoff

Canon has been pioneering warehouse culture optimization for years, during which time our clients have shared significant insights about how our tailor-made approach has resulted in unprecedented progress. Our metrics-driven processes can result in improved relationships with suppliers and internal departments, decreased warehouse and operating costs, improved customer satisfaction, reduced recordable safety incidents, and improved employee productivity. These areas of improvement and efficiency collectively allow our clients’ engineers, procurement, and production employees to focus on their specialized and valuable tasks, secure in knowing that their warehouse and production support operation is running smoothly.

Most warehouses are being asked to meet changing customer needs. By sharing operational challenges with Canon to leverage our expertise and resources, you can improve the customer experience while your warehouse can become more agile, resilient, and a true asset for your core business.

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