Assess your Warehouse Business Planning and Logistics Needs

The start of a New Year is the ideal time to conduct a company health check.

It makes so much sense to review the progress of your company and identify how you can make the most of the market position you’ve established and decide how to improve your business and how to take it to the next level. You will need to revisit and update your business plan with your new improvement plan in mind and make sure you deliver these new improvements in a timely manner.

‘GOV.UK/Business’ advise in their original document, ‘Review your business performance’, that there are some questions that you need to ask yourself to initiate your assessment:

  • What’s my direction? Planning for Brexit?
  • What are my markets – now and in the future? EU and/or the world?
  • How do I gain market advantage? Investment in AI robotics?
  • What resources do I require to succeed? Where necessary, are you utilising 3PL solutions to outsource elements of the company’s distribution, warehousing, and fulfillment services?
  • What business environment am I competing in? Macro? Micro?
  • How am I measuring success? Is it exclusively the balance sheet?

This introspective analysis will lead you to focus upon your key core business delivery mechanisms, specifically targeting the efficiency and effectiveness of your warehousing and logistics.

Jason Tindley (of Logistics Planning Consultants) in his article, ‘What To Include In A Warehouse & Logistics Improvement Plan’, suggests implementing a warehouse and logistics improvement plan.

He states the obvious that your warehouse is the hub of your supply chain and arguably it’s most important part, but it does not exist in isolation. No strategy to improve your warehouse will succeed without simultaneously looking at how it fits in with other elements of your logistics operation.

Jason stresses that when finished, this plan will give you a complete overview of your business as it stands, helping you understand your strengths, weak spots and opportunities. However, a good improvement strategy will be more than a snapshot of your current supply chain. It will also provide a blue print for adaptation, expansion and change management.

Here are some of his simple steps you can take to make a start today:

“1) Evaluate your Current Operation

The first step on the road to improvement is taking a cold, hard look at your current facilities and processes. Create an accurate floor plan of your warehouse, showing layout and storage facilities. You should then take an inventory of all your equipment and vehicles, including your logistics fleet. Next comes an HR assessment. Work backwards from processes rather than people. Set out all your current warehouse processes and procedures, then link them to staff responsibilities and finally to named individuals. This will give you a comprehensive overview of all your resources and capacities.

2) Determine your Inventory Requirements

Next, assess your stock and inventory needs. Make a note of your current volumes of stock, where it is stored and your current stock turn. Tie this in with the previous step, where you will have already analysed your ordering, material handling and storage processes. How do you accurately assess inventory stock turn? How do you store and manage warehouse data? Comparing your resources with the needs of your business allows you to progress to stages three and four, where you identify weaknesses and opportunities.

3) Identify Gaps in Capacity

You should now be able to see where your weaknesses are, i.e. where your resources fail to meet your inventory and throughput requirements. Identifying your weaknesses is a positive step, as each weakness presents an opportunity for improvement. List all your areas for improvement and prioritise them in order of importance. You may find your infrastructure needs upgrading, or you may need to reorganise your warehouse layout, or implement changes in or procure a new WMS.

4) Identify Opportunities for Change

Analyse your current processes and procedures. To what extent do they enable you to reach your business goals, and to what extent do they contribute to the weaknesses you have identified? Can improvements be made? You may be able to find alternative solutions that allow you to save costs or reduce errors. Many businesses include a plan for reorganising their workforce; improving productivity and setting out guidelines to support their warehouse team achieve their KPIs.

5) Determine the Cost of Improvement

Steps three and four will yield many opportunities for change. However, what do all these improvements cost you and what return will you get on each? When considering the total cost, analyse each improvement qualitatively and quantitatively. For instance:

  • How much will the improvements cost?
  • How much time will they take?
  • How much is this time worth in monetary terms?
  • Will productivity be impacted while improvements take place?
  • Is there a risk of inventory damage?
  • Is there a risk that your service levels will be adversely affected during the change and what is that cost?
  • What are the health and safety implications?
  • How will you adjust to the changes?
  • How will the improvement plan be managed, and by who?

6) Review Your Plans

Having considered the financial and qualitative impact on your business, you can now look back and review your plans if necessary. Prioritise the improvements you want to make first and shelve any that are impractical. For each change, note the impact on space, personnel, procedures, productivity and equipment, with all associated time and monetary costs.

After you have worked through the six steps, you will be ready to create a formal Warehouse and Logistics Improvement Plan, for your supply chain.”

Don’t hesitate … Assess : Identify : Act

2019 is the New Year to identify your warehouse logistics solutions.

Whichwarehouse … Enable : Facilitate : Deliver.

The Whichwarehouse directory has an established network of experienced and professional third party logistics and warehouse providers covering locations throughout the UK and Ireland. We can assist with your logistics requests for anything from self-storage to pallet or bulk storage through to a complete supply chain solution for your products, even delivering to the end user. The facilities included in our network provide storage and distribution services for general and bulk goods, hazardous and pharmaceutical products, items subject to Duty and VAT deferment as well as general self-storage units.

Our members are able to offer a complete commercial storage and logistics solution including distribution and forwarding, RH&D, order picking, stock control, re-working and re-kitting, EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and PDI (Pre delivery inspection). Some have available outside space for vehicle parking or external storage requirements and many warehouses have dock levellers, temperature control facilities, operate forklifts and most warehouse facilities are fully secure with CCTV and alarm systems.

If you need to find storage space or a 3PL provider please click on the FIND SPACE button on our welcome page and use the map to search for current available solutions or for assistance in any way, please contact us on 0800 1707555.

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