Gary Meyer, senior director of operations at nutrition products merchant Herbalife, offers a couple of tips for when your company is considering a major purchase of equipment or software for your warehouse.
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If you have to pick from several designs, pay attention to how easy each design will be to operate, Meyer says. Designs that provide for simple management of labor, easy flow, and good visibility to supervisors are the best. Designs that are hard to follow or that depend on a series of complex assumptions should be carefully analyzed and vetted, and if possible, made simpler. If in doubt, send your vendor back to the drawing board with instructions to simplify the design.
Don’t expect that your new system will be running at 100% one week after you turn it on. If it’s a complex system, don’t expect that it will be running at 100% three months later, Meyer says. Equipment needs to be broken in and there is a learning curve for your employees.
“Make sure you schedule enough time for testing, training, and run time experience with your own people,” Meyer says. “The guy piloting your flight to Florida didn’t learn everything he needed to know about operating the plane safely in a week. Don’t expect that your people can become experts without spending the requisite time to learn about the equipment and the multitude of things that can happen or go wrong in a day.”
If you want to know more, Gary will be speaking on this topic at the Operations Summit in Memphis May 2-3. For more information, go to www.operationssummit.com.