The CEO Views Magazine, April 2021

CEO Views has named Canon Business Process Services (Canon) as one of the “Top 50 Most Innovative Companies to Watch 2021." This is the second year in a row that the publication has recognized Canon for its innovative and holistic approach—spanning people, process and technology—in delivering business process outsourcing services.

For over 30 years Canon has placed a premium on innovation in helping clients enable business agility, digital transformation and lead an increasingly evolving workforce. Canon solves these challenges by leveraging its experienced team backed by Six Sigma™ expertise and best-in-class technology.

“Many businesses are looking to fundamentally transform their operations by automating workflows and leveraging other technology advancements,” says Joe Marciano, president and CEO of Canon Business Process Services. “In response to these forces for change, we continue to apply innovative thinking and our holistic approach to help clients improve their business processes and streamline operational efficiency.”

Indeed, Canon’s methodology continues to garner industry recognition. For example, the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (IAOP) named Canon to its Global Outsourcing 100 list for past 15 years in a row. According to IAOP, the Global Outsourcing 100 is an essential reference for organizations seeking relationships with the best outsourcing companies. Canon earned additional IAOP Global Outsourcing 100 recognition last year by receiving top honors in five special judging categories. One of these, most notably, was “Programs for Innovation,” which recognizes a company’s ability to implement solutions that produce new forms of value for customers.

One such advanced program is Canon Warehouse and Distribution Center services. Labor constraints, e-commerce growth, digital transformation, and the need for better performance monitoring have been top-of-mind issues for logistics and supply chain managers for several years now. When the global pandemic emerged—bringing with it supply chain disruptions and new requirements such as workplace social distancing—the need to transform existing warehouse operations, as well as launch new distribution centers, accelerated dramatically.

In response, warehouses began hiring more people, addressing customers’ immediate needs, and paying attention to safety stock levels. With an eye on maximizing output while also adhering to new regulations, more supply chain and business leaders found themselves needing an experienced managed services partner to identify efficiency gaps and improve overall operations.

“With their essential warehouses at maximum output, companies need better operational efficiency and streamlined solutions,” notes Joe Marciano. “At the same time, a lot of facilities have been ramping up their e-commerce style networks in order to meet the needs of their customers.”

The latter is particularly relevant in an environment where more consumers are buying online and picking up at the curb—a movement that was already in full swing prior to the pandemic, but that’s since ramped up significantly. By combining people, processes, technology and analytics, a managed services provider such as Canon can help companies across the spectrum deal with their individual challenges.

The foundation of Canon’s offering is a comprehensive, integrated warehouse and distribution solution that spans distribution and inventory management, warehousing workforce management and business support services. “Companies that are ready to align with a management services provider should start by conducting an objective assessment of their operations to identify the gaps and areas in need of improvement,” advises Joe Tague, director of business applications. “Operational areas where visibility is low and key performance indicators (KPIs) are difficult to track, for instance, are probably prime candidates for improvement supported by a reputable managed services provider.” When selecting your partner, Tague suggests looking for these key attributes:

A trained labor pool. You don’t want a partner that just certifies forklift drivers and then lets them loose on your warehouse floor, Tague cautions, noting that Canon provides intensive training sessions for these and other warehouse employees. It starts with a general warehousing overview, and then more industry-specific training, safety training (i.e., on personal protective equipment usage), and other core modules.

Willingness to take on an active management role. Where temp agencies send workers to the warehouse to cover open positions on a “temporary basis,” the best managed services providers step into an active management role and cover the complete hiring and training process. “Look for a partner that will be contractually responsible for the flexing up and down of your workforce,” says Tague, “so that all you have to worry about is getting your products made, fulfilled, and shipped on time.”

Data and KPIs that feed incremental and overall improvements. Look for a partner that understands the technology and equipment that’s suited for your operating environment. At minimum, the company should be able to prove that it has a host of skillsets and tools that are applicable in your operation. A retailer whose e-commerce orders fluctuate depending on seasonality, for example, would benefit from having historical data on its desired inventory levels for high-demand items. “You want to be prepared for dips in supply or spikes in production,” says Tague, “and your managed services partner should be using historical trend data to help deal with those ebbs and flows.”

"The foundation of Canon’s offering is a comprehensive, integrated warehouse and distribution solution that spans distribution and inventory management, warehousing workforce management and business support services." - Joe Tague

A commitment to safety. The potential partners you’re talking to must incorporate safety as part of their initial employee onboarding process. If not, it’s time to look for another managed services provider. “Safety should always be the number one priority for any warehouse,” says Tague. “There has to be day-to-day progress on your safety goals; it can't just be a weekly or monthly safety meeting.” Canon’s onboarding program, for instance, includes numerous safety courses that incorporate both operational ergonomics and a facility hazard analysis.

“Canon warehouse and distribution center services demonstrate how we are leveraging innovation to help our clients address current challenges and better prepare for the future,” says Joe Marciano. He adds that whatever their business needs, Canon’s mission is to help ensure that its clients are ready to succeed in the days ahead.

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