WAREHOUSE AND DISTRIBUTION
With today’s fast paced, rapidly changing environment many companies run 24 hour operations and often guarantee a product to their customers within a very short time frame. Combine this with the ever crucial ‘right first time’ strategy that many companies have adopted as standard practise and you can see the challenges Warehouse and Distribution face…this is where RPO can help.
Very few businesses have the opportunity to set up a warehouse based on their own requirements and often ‘acquire’ an existing warehouse with an existing infrastructure. A lot of time is then spent on the types of racking to be used and the positioning of fast / slow moving inventory. This can be cost defective and time consuming and it is essential that each operative knows what they should be doing, when they should be doing it. If not correctly managed a lack of inventory control can cause many issues within a business, the worst being an unhappy customer.
One of the most important elements to creating a successful, smooth running warehouse or distribution centre is the people. The attitude and engagement of warehouse/ distribution staff heavily influences the operational effectiveness and productivity within a logistics setting. The need for well educated, skilled workers who can adapt quickly in a rapidly changing environment is becoming more and more vital as technological advances are made. Ensuring data is accurate requires highly engaged and committed teams who are acclimatised to react quickly, ensuring accuracy and minimum loss. A good manager should be able to identify the baseline activity to which full time employees can be directed. Then dependant of the ‘other’ activity a balance can be found of agency or overtime and sometimes a combination of both.
Logistics is big business. With over 63,000 companies, 1.7 million people employed countrywide and worth over £55 billion, logistics is vital to the UK’s economy. Warehouse and Distribution play an instrumental role in the logistics sector as the all important link between production and customer. The gap between operative and consumer has now decreased, with customer interaction and care becoming a necessary skill as the operational role becomes more ‘front line’ focused. Strong first line leadership is essential to ensure that communication is effective between warehouse operatives as well as between operative and customer. The need for an influential First Line Managers across the sector has never been more important as up-skilling becomes more and more necessary as skill gaps widen between generations. With only 9% of the workforce within logistics under 25, there is a distinct lack of new blood within the sector creating a static culture with little inclination to change unless the focus on leadership at an operative level is taught to effectively influence and manage this process.
RPO focuses on creating a high performance culture within a logistics team by creating and supporting and up-skilling First Line Management. The ability to successfully performance manage all areas of warehouse operations is critical to the longevity and success of the company as a whole. All operators need be aware of their performance through regular communication from a respected First Line Manager. It is important to challenge poor performance, as well as praising good performance on a regular basis; this immediately ensures each operator is aware of what is expected of them. The key to successfully implementing RPO into warehouse and distribution and ensuring accountability, streamlined operations, automated processes, high efficiency, and reduced costs is to ensure the people of an organisation are flexible and agile in an increasingly interchangeable environment. The ability to successfully performance manage in all areas of warehouse operations is critical to ensuring a sustainable, high performance culture.