Each month, school district superintendents from Lackawanna County in northeast Pennsylvania meet to discuss a variety of issues common to them all – things like curriculums, budget management, and security. Typically, they meet in a conference room at the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, however last month they met at KANE headquarters in Scranton, where there was one more topic on the agenda – jobs.
If you are a user of third-party logistics (3PL) services, you know that 3PLs tend to have a metric for just about everything – productivity, accuracy, timeliness, costs….
3PL metrics are used as a barometer of performance and to inform continuous improvement programs. But should these same numbers be used to measure the success of your 3PL/Client relationship?
Lip Service. According to Merriam-Webster, it’s a belief “expressed in words but not backed by deeds.”
There’s a lot of that going on when it comes to programs for continuous improvement in logistics. Some companies do quite a good job presenting the image of a quality-driven operation. But too often the banners, slogans and award certificates – the eye candy – don’t translate into real cultural change.
Every logistics operation will say safety programs are a priority. But many such claims are lip service only. Safety solutions, over and above OSHA-mandated programs, cost money – for training, equipment and software. Many companies struggle to invest money in things that might happen.
As third party logistics (3PL) distribution center professionals, we all have logistics KPIs (key performance indicators) that are either directed by our customer or are an internal measure of success. The goal: to keep our KPIs operating in the green. However, there are two KPIs that I have seen consumer packaged goods (CPG) customers attempt to manipulate, and I struggle to understand the logic.
Topics: Warehouse Operations
If you were contracting for home renovation work, you might deal with a single general contractor to coordinate the project. But you’d like to feel confident that the people actually laying the tile, putting up the drywall, and attaching the plumbing fixtures have the experience and training to do a quality job.
The same holds true for the use of temporary labor for warehouse staffing. As a user of third-party logistics (3PL) services, you want to understand how your 3PL utilizes temporary labor and how that might impact work quality.
Distribution network optimization has become a white-hot topic these days as “the Amazon effect” leads businesses to evaluate how quickly they can get products to customers.
Warehouse optimization modeling exercises examine the upside of being closer to customers versus the downside of carrying more inventory in more locations. The biggest mistake companies make in this area is relying too much on the modeling software itself to provide an answer to the question: “How many warehouses should I have and where should they be?”
Lean warehousing quality improvement programs have driven billions of dollars’ worth of value across corporate supply chains. They are the road map to faster, better and cheaper. But, if you’re not careful, these programs can become weighed down with bureaucracy, adding time and cost to your quality improvement efforts.