Canon Helps Global Company Streamline Warehouse Management Operations
Optimizing Warehouse Technology and Workflows
A global company tapped Canon teamed to solve a critical warehouse management challenge. By implementing a new approach, we helped the company significantly advance its inventory level to 99.8% accuracy and avoid costs of approximately $1 million. Our team also implemented a workforce optimization program that helped the company achieve several important business benefits.
Initially, 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.
Ease the pressures of a changing distribution environment and trying to manage operations with inefficient processes.
Integrate a warehouse management system (WMS) into the company’s existing ERP system, and deploy a system of “mini warehouses” that enables workers to access materials closer to where they were needed.
The WMS/ERP integration enhanced process efficiencies for picking parts used in the manufacturing process. The mini warehouse approach enabled the company to advance its inventory level to a remarkable 99.8% accuracy and avoids costs of approximately $1 million.
Deploying a “Mini Warehouse” Approach to Create New Warehouse Efficiencies
Canon implemented another approach that is making a huge difference. We created a system of “mini warehouses.” These are fenced areas situated away from the main warehouse and closer to the production line. Each week, our team prepares and stores parts that are used most often in these mini warehouses. Now, workers don’t have to make as many daily runs to the main warehouse in order to retrieve parts.
Our approach has enabled the company to advance its inventory level to a remarkable 99.8% accuracy. This means that if a worker needs to retrieve a part, 99.8% of the time it’s where they system indicates it is located. With the deployment of this new system along with the WMS/ERP integration, our client no longer has to shut down every year to complete a full physical inventory, which avoids costs of approximately $1 million.
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.
Workforce Optimization Program Delivers Cost Reduction
Finally, the Canon team implemented a workforce optimization program that 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.