Three Levels of Supply Chain Efficiency

December 31, 2014

Authored by Alana Smith, TeamCain

A warehouse manager’s objectives include increasing inventory and shipping accuracy, worker productivity, and supply chain visibility while at the same time decreasing inventory levels and costs, incorrect and lost orders, labor and data entry costs and risk and liability. On a webinar we co-hosted with our partner, RF-SMART, we explored how a warehouse manager can achieve their objectives with three levels of supply chain efficiency.

Level 1 – Automate Your Supply Chain

The first level is to automate your supply chain with automated data collection (ADC).  In other blog entries, we’ve discussed the benefits of undertaking ADC in warehouse operations. Paper-based environments are just too prone to errors. With ADC your employees can work with JD Edwards in real-time and with the help of RF-SMART, direct people through the process in an effective manner. Many would think that implementing ADC reduces your head count when in reality, it isn’t true. Adopting ADC merely provides workers the time and availabilities to complete new activities which help the company grow.

Level 2 - Performance Metrics Across the Workforce

The second level is to gain an understanding of your workforce’s performance metrics. Warehouse managers can track metrics internally to look at employees in the warehouse and gain more visibility into what workers are doing. By collecting performance metrics, you can objectively and fairly evaluate or compare warehouse workers and hold workers accountable for certain metrics. You can also incent your personnel to improve their picking productivity and see how your warehouse operations can be more efficient in order to make better decisions.

RF-SMART has developed their Labor Management Reporting module to address these metrics. They have set up seven web-based reports that compliment JD Edwards and that management can access via tablet devices or on the fly in the warehouse.

The reports answer:

How many transactions did each worker do?
Measure of work done across all workflow, analyses different workers and compares to each other based on number of transactions completed.

How much quantity did each worker transact?
Looks at the quantity of transactions (like picks) that each worker has completed. You also get the ability to drill down into what items were picked and who picks the most, broken down by day or by each worker.

How evenly is the work distributed among workers?

Data is presented to show how evenly the work is distributed amongst your workers in receiving, picking, moving, or adjusting tasks.

What transactions do we spend the most/least amount of money on?

How warehouse labor dollars are being spent. Warehouse managers are able to identify areas where the most money is spent and therefore which areas have the most opportunity for optimization. You can compare to multiple facilities or multiple shifts and give operation managers insight in order to improve their facility to run more smoothly.

Who are your most efficient workers?
The Worker Productivity Report displays the most efficient workers, expressed as quantity per hour. You can drill down to items to see how the worker is being productive (are they picking items or are they working with a pallet?).

Are your worker’s hourly rate justified?
A cost-based worker productivity report displays a worker’s hourly rate calculation, which you can view units/dollar vs units/hours.

How much non-productive time does each worker have?
Displays the elapsed time spent in all RF-SMART transactions over a period of time. If workers are not spending enough time, you can find out why and then determine how they can be more effective in the workhouse.

Level 3 – Extend JDE with Advanced Inventory Management Functionality

The third level of supply chain efficiency is to take advantage of the enhancements that RF-SMART has made. As warehouse operations evolve, RF-SMART listens to their customer’s feedback and recognizes trends with customization over the years. They have built into their base product advanced functionality so that new and old customers alike can take advantage without having to heavily modify what they already have in place and further compliment JD Edwards. RF-SMART has more than 70 standard workflows including cycle counts, location inquiry, inventory inquiry, pick by line, inventory transfer, work order inquiry, work order completion, Rout. Steps on WO Tracking, and Kanba – 1 & 2 Step.

Whether you’ve already implemented ADC or you’re in the early stages of consideration, it’s important to remember the three levels of supply chain efficiency so you can get the most out of your warehouse and keep your business in a positive position.

You Might Also Be Interested In:
RF-SMART’s Top 5 Reasons to Choose Automation in 2014
Avoiding Hiccoughs in the Supply Chain
The Right Hardware for Your Warehouse Operations