BPO Bulletin

Specialized Complex Manufacturing Requires Expert Material Handling to Support Growth

by Ken Neal
March 25, 2024

Efficient materials management is vital to every manufacturer. What’s the best approach to acquiring the robust infrastructure and expertise that it takes to support a highly efficient manufacturing line or warehouse operation? Should your company devote the resources and make the major investments required to manage everything in-house? Or do you rely on a third-party logistics (3PL) to manage your operation? Does either option meet all your technology, speed, agility, safety, scalability, efficiency and other goals? If not, the best solution may be to work with a partner that can deliver a customized management approach.

This approach is Canon’s special focus. Our managed services program consists of providing Canon talent onsite in our clients’ operations. This capability is coupled with our subject matter expertise and process optimization best practices, including technology.

An experienced business process outsourcing services provider like Canon can be the game-changer for long-established and complex-products manufacturers, as well as startups. Specialized experience enables companies such as Canon to contribute resources as needed while ensuring alignment with your existing processes and strategic vision.

For example, Canon has years of experience in Warehouse Management services that allow attracting, developing, and retaining the skilled employees that are required to support a manufacturer’s specific operations and improve efficiency. This includes incentivizing employees with bonus programs that are aligned with agreed-upon requirements for achieving operational excellence. This is an especially important point to consider because, typically, there are a variety of warehouse facilities within a geographic region that compete for labor. This makes onboarding, training, maintaining, and retaining skilled staff among the top concerns for in-house operations.

With these and other challenges in mind, although any company can benefit from consultative services, companies that manufacture complex products and startups often realize the fastest, most significant efficiency gains.

For established manufacturers: The latest technology and expertise aligned with existing operations and processes

Mature businesses face many of the same challenges as startups, but with the added complexities of integrating new systems and processes into an existing WMS operation. Canon works with these clients to address evolving requirements while maintaining alignment with current operations, helping them streamline existing assets while recommending efficiency improvements with updated processes and automation.

Mature manufacturers must deal with competing priorities for resources, and a consultative services provider can bring focused expertise and resources to each engagement. In contrast to 3PL providers, Canon allows clients to retain control as well as the value of investments, but without the burden of day-to-day management.

For complex-products manufacturers: Strategies and processes tailored to highly specialized needs

Canon can contribute much-needed expertise to complex-products manufacturers via a highly vetted and well-tenured professional workforce. Trained in the latest technology and processes, Canon subject matter experts provide guidance on the most up-to-date hardware and software, applications, infrastructure and process workflows, including strategies for continuous efficiency improvements.

Canon can also provide traditionally hard-to-find resources for staffing sterile labs, cold rooms and other specialized environments. In its engagement with the health sciences startup, Canon manages all vital cold-chain processes and procedures, as well as receiving, storing, shipping and inventory-control processes for some 800 components that make up the company’s complex product. In such cases of complexity and specialized requirements, Canon’s breadth and depth of services expertise make it uniquely suited to provide operations and materials management.

For startups: Out-of-the-gate experience and resource access

For most startups, preparing for a product launch means all hands on deck in research and development (R&D) and manufacturing. Reliant on seed funding and without a revenue stream, these companies must focus investments on their core competencies — which are typically not warehousing, supply chain, logistics and other materials-management processes.

Recognizing that every manufacturer has unique requirements, Canon develops programs that are custom-tailored for each company’s specific business objectives, product and operations — whether the need is for a singular process such as inventory management or across all aspects of product delivery, from initial setup to ongoing management of manufacturing facilities and warehouses.

For first-time manufacturers, Canon helps design an optimized materials management program that allows for sufficient time to mature processes before customer shipments begin. Early-stage startup companies may often face aggressive timelines — and lack historical data on cycle times, volume or revenue that they can use for guidance. In these cases, Canon’s deep experience can be invaluable for rapid, optimized warehouse design and the implementation of an intricate warehouse management system.

Startups that bring in the Canon team to design processes and manage operations can focus their own resources on core competencies, as well as:

  • Reduce labor costs
  • Improve internal supply chain processes
  • Enhance warehouse efficiency and safety
  • Receive verified metrics on productivity and volumes in real-time
  • Rapidly and globally scale from 10X to 100X bandwidth
  • Establish a culture of continuous improvement
  • Access best-in-class infrastructure via Canon’s established relationships with vendors and equipment providers

Canon recently worked with a health sciences startup to address a broad spectrum of needs, including labor forecasting, optimal floor layout, critical software applications and installation of a conveyor system. After setting up manufacturing operations in the project’s initial phase, Canon helped stand up the company’s new warehouse, designing the facility’s operation, racking system, and inbound and outbound materials flow. Optimizing the warehouse enabled the company to transition from R&D to the commercial manufacture and distribution of its scientific device, including the temperature-sensitive chemical components that require transportation from the company’s manufacturing facility to safe storage at the warehouse.

Why Canon: Results from a trusted provider

With expertise across all aspects of product delivery, from warehouse design and facilities operation to internal logistics, inventory control, staffing and workforce management, Canon brings to its clients a singular level of expertise born of the company’s more than four decades as a consumer-products manufacturer. By working in partnership with Canon, you can:

  • Leverage our expertise and specialization to implement best practices and cutting-edge technologies
  • Free up your employees to focus on higher-value activities
  • Improve employee morale and reduce turnover
  • Avoid supply-chain bottlenecks by leveraging dual sourcing supplier strategies, carrier scorecards and other proven solutions
  • Access a comprehensive set of services, including logistics, chain of custody, cold chain, transportation, shipping and receiving
  • Enjoy guaranteed continuing solution value and efficiencies

Whether your business is a startup, a mature organization, or something in between, we’ll develop a customized solution to meet your requirements for labor, technology, workflows and data. Reach out to us today for an on-site assessment.

To find out if your company can benefit from Canon consultative services, call us at 888-623-2668 or schedule your on-site assessment.

Ready to Advance Your Business?