Achieve Real Warehouse Operations Improvements by Optimizing Your Staff and Developing the Right Culture
by Ken Neal
May 26, 2021
Like all aspects of business, warehouse and material-movement management face multiple unprecedented pressures. Shifting consumer behaviors and the rise of e-commerce have dramatically increased the demand for goods and speedy delivery. If that were not enough, the pandemic strained warehouse talent and added complexity to existing safety requirements. Even beyond the warehouse floor, disruption affected every aspect of your materials’ ecosystem — supply chain, procurement, inventory management and transportation.
Fluctuations in the talent market may have left your warehouse without the necessary headcount to keep pace with demand — or the critical skills you need. As a result, orders get out the door more slowly, mistakes compound and inventory-related costs soar. A variety of issues could be driving this scenario, from inefficient processes and data silos to legacy technology that is stifling innovation. These breakdowns also leave you in reactive mode, rather than proactive, which in turn poses a serious threat to business growth.
If you have faced these issues, you probably realized that you cannot solve them alone. Your first thought may be to get help from a staffing agency or a third-party logistics provider — both of which come with their own risks and downsides. But there is a better way: Canon’s Integrated Logistics and Material Management solution is a comprehensive blueprint for warehouse and distribution center management. It can help optimize your warehouse staff and culture; solve your most pressing productivity challenges and set you up for continuous improvement.
Traditionally, warehouse management support options have been limited and have always included a trade-off. Staffing agencies may offer some relief for talent shortages, but they often focus on headcount over skill set. You also sacrifice important experience with existing processes and technology, and that can create inefficiencies and increase costs.
Third-party logistics providers can support some of your process and technology needs, but you might lose control and visibility. These providers require you to fit your processes to their methods, typically at their facilities. Giving up this control means you are not targeting underlying causes or working with a true extension of your warehouse to identify long-term solutions on your own terms.
Your organization can always go it alone, but that opens the door to additional risk with the same limited resources. It can seem like the only available option is to give up capability or give up control — a choice that leads to some sleepless nights.
Engaging a partner that takes an integrated approach to logistics and materials management, however, can give your organization a comprehensive, tailored blueprint for achieving excellence in warehouse staffing management, business process workflow and technology — without requiring any compromise.
For many enterprises, warehouse operations are a critical aspect of their business but not a core competency. That means they often are a lower priority. But at Canon, integrated warehouse logistics and materials management is the core focus of what we do.
Our integrated approach does more than simply treat the symptoms of your warehouse challenges. It enables your operation to become a significant, value-added element of your business. Our approach also strengthens your warehouse culture — all the people, processes, tools, and technologies that make up your ecosystem, as well as the ways that ecosystem feeds into the bigger picture of your entire business.
Our approach favors progress over compromise by providing a fully integrated blueprint for your warehouse operations. This blueprint includes on-site management of warehouse personnel, an implementation team, safety management protocols and more. We also give you unlimited access to warehouse experts and solution consultants who focus on strategic implementation and continuous improvement — all tailored to the unique characteristics, policies, and vision of your organization, within your unique environment.
Our phased approach warehouse management services and design improvements means you will begin to realize benefits from day one. This includes gaining the flexibility you need to adjust staffing up or down as the business grows or during busy seasons. Because it also provides you with ongoing expertise for continuous improvement, our solution grows with your business, at your pace, aligned to your culture.
By integrating with your existing business systems, improvements in your warehouse will be connected to greater overall business performance. Because this approach is driven by metrics, you can see quantitative gains in customer satisfaction, decreased operating costs, fewer safety incidents and improved productivity. The focus on your warehouse culture also liberates you to tackle more strategic leadership initiatives. Businesses that leverage such a customized, integrated approach can become more agile, capture more innovation, identify, and solve problems proactively, and reduce friction across business units.
Partnering with Canon for BPO services has already made a huge difference for one major global manufacturer, which was struggling because of a rapidly transforming distribution environment and shortages of skilled labor. These challenges were amplified by major process inefficiencies across both the manufacturing and warehouse ecosystems.
The manufacturer was working with seven different staffing firms to cobble together the workforce needed to meet surging demand. Managing these vendor relationships and their unreliable workforce was challenging. Delays and unfulfilled orders created a costly ripple effect for other business units.
Our team created a customized program to help the manufacturer target these specific issues. We began by bringing in a highly skilled and trained workforce — all from one source, which increased acumen and reduced complexity. Working with leadership, we helped refine processes, enabling the workers to become even more efficient. These improvements were supplemented by the integration of a warehouse management system with the manufacturer’s existing enterprise resource planning system to enhance workflows.
The benefits fed smoothly into the rest of the business in the same way problems had rippled through it. Our integrated solution dramatically reduced costs, improved inventory control with fewer lost and replaced materials, and reduced downtime in key production areas.
You should not have to compromise capability or control to build the warehouse operation your business needs. Integrated logistics and materials management, along with a special focus on warehouse culture optimization, puts the right solution in your hands, ensuring you have the right people doing the right work the right way at the right time.
And that is the right way to run your business.
Feel free to visit the Warehouse and Distribution Services page of our website for more valuable information in the form of case histories, white papers, research reports and more.