Canon Helps Global Company Streamline Warehouse Management Operations and Innovate with Intelligent Lockers
A leading American multinational corporation approached Canon Business Process Services for BPO Services. The company was struggling under the pressures of a changing distribution environment and trying to manage operations with inefficient processes. After selecting Canon as the right partner to turn things around, the priority was clear: implement a plan to help the company achieve high-volume production levels in its warehouse.
Optimizing Warehouse Technology and Workflows
The company’s key need was for Canon to optimize technology and workflows. One reason is that the company is always dealing with a compressed timeframe within which to get parts picked from the warehouse environment and delivered to the production areas. Any delays in that process put production workers behind. When those delays happen daily, costs add up.
Our team implemented technology that enhanced process efficiencies for picking parts used in the manufacturing process. This included integrating a warehouse management system (WMS) into the company’s existing SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Our experts helped the company enhance the inventory control and pick process elements of the system, which included restricting inventory access only to designated personnel. This eliminated the need to take an annual physical inventory. Previously the company would halt physical production and material movement throughout the facility at specific times so that several employees could physically log inventory. Eliminating this physical process generated significant time, resource, and cost savings for our client.
The company realized additional cost savings due to a reduction in reordering parts that were reported missing under the previous system. Also, a better view into inventory on hand created more accurate and faster timelines when working with vendors to replenish out-of-stock inventory items. This reduced inventory turns, which meant that carrying costs for maintaining inventory on hand at any given time were lower.
Canon Implements Additional Improvements
In addition to the inventory control improvements, we also deployed a system of “micro warehouses,” which enables workers to access materials closer to where they were needed. These storage facilities, located outside the main warehouse on the production floor in areas scattered throughout the facility, are dedicated to specific production line zones. Bulk inventory is moved to these micro warehouses, which streamlines production schedules because workers can retrieve critical materials more quickly more efficiently.
Another element of our initiative to help improve inefficient process was deploying an intelligent locker system. The company had two to three people dedicated to delivering mail throughout the campus. Based on an assessment, our team proposed installing intelligent lockers at strategic locations within the campus. This would yield two key benefits. One, it would enhance security compared to delivering packages by leaving them on employees’ desks. It would also save time; delivery personnel would not have to visit every office area to deliver the mail. Our solution included three banks of lockers installed at various locations. Mail is put into a locker, then a code is sent to employees who go to a locker to receive their packages. This approach saves labor savings versus having the mail delivered manually throughout the campus.
Canon also initiated a safety upgrade program at the company. The initiative was based leveraging the best practices featured in Canon’s customized Site Safety Playbook. It highlights important safety measures that span warehouse management activities including materials handling, pallet rack procedures, automatic guided vehicle operations, hazardous materials shipping and receiving, and much more. Utilizing the playbook, we were able to help our client reduce recordable incidents by 8%-10% and establish a culture committed to ongoing safety awareness and improvement.
Delivering on a Vision
Canon’s workforce optimization approach helped the company reduce its production turn times while also ensuring that more final products were completed within their allotted timeframes. Along with improved labor management, enhanced operational efficiency and better process flows, the company realized several important “wins.” These include cost reduction, less lost/misplaced inventory, and much less downtime for its production line. The ability to stay operational and fluid has translated into significant cost savings for the company, where downtime can translate into tens of thousands of dollars per day in lost productivity. Our client has stated that an important part of its mission is to deliver innovative solutions that help create a world that works more efficiently. By enabling a more integrated, proficient, and cost-effective warehouse operation, Canon is helping the company deliver on its vision.