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Start with the End in Mind

When we consider any warehouse improvement project, an early question requests a description of the goal line. You say that your warehouse needs improvement, but what is the goal of that improvement?

Consider two real examples:

  1. ABC Company purchased the building that was originally designed for manufacturing. The storage area is long and narrow, and all of the shipping and receiving docks are at one of the narrow ends. Because of this unusual shape, any storage layout will require an abnormal amount of travel when orders are selected. Therefore, the most obvious improvement project is one that reduces an amount of travel . This may be accomplished with a mechanized system that allows much of the travel to be done by machines rather than people. In this case, the goal is to increase units per hour -- UPH -- for both receiving and picking.
  2. XYZ Company has a low accuracy rate in shipping, and the frequency of errors is getting worse. Customers are complaining, and the cost of correcting errors is a major headache. In this case, the goal is to increase accuracy rate. A change might involve a new identification system with proven ability to raise accuracy rates. Progress toward the goal should be a measurement which is a ratio of errors to shipments.

In both cases, management should start the improvement project with the end in mind. Don't just look for the latest bells and whistles at a trade show, start with a goal and consider only those options which allow you to reach that goal.


K. B. Ackerman Company
2041 Riverside Drive
Suite 204
Columbus, Ohio 43221
Phone 614-488-3165
Fax 614-488-9243

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