What You Didn’t Know Can Hurt You

When it comes to your supply chain–and more specific–your warehouse operations, you never want to hear the words “I didn’t know.”
Here’s a quick assessment of where these three words hurt the most. Beginning with when your product arrives in receiving. We have all heard:
1. I didn’t know the product had to be received today.
2. I didn’t know nonstocks should be received differently from regular product.
3. I didn’t know I should not have received the product site unseen.

Your receiving department is responsible for taking in the daily fuel required to operate your warehouse. The words “I didn’t know” should not be a part of their vernacular.

Next comes picking:
1. I didn’t know that item was part of a component.
2. I didn’t know the product had not been received when I took it from receiving.
3. I didn’t know I was supposed to write the backorder quantity on the pick ticket.

Picking accounts for 55% of your warehouse related costs. Enough said.

Delivery personnel:
1. I didn’t know that order had to be delivered today.
2. I didn’t know some of the order was left off the truck until I arrived at the customer’s site.
3. I didn’t know the customer was supposed to give me a check.

Warehouse supervisor:
1. I didn’t know our employee turnover was so high.
2. I didn’t know our inventory was so inaccurate.
3. I didn’t know the order wasn’t supposed to ship until next week.
4. I didn’t know the customer had people waiting on the jobsite.

Every initiative you want to implement will be affected by the competency of your warehouse supervisor. If they are saying, “I didn’t know,” your supply chain is in trouble.

Customer service/contact center
1. I didn’t know the customer was on hold.
2. I didn’t know the product was on reserve for another customer.
3. I didn’t know I was supposed to check with the warehouse before I told the customer we could meet their deliver date.

We all know that distribution is a cash-intensive business, and that you have to be prepared for just about anything. There is simply too much at stake for your employees to use the words, “I didn’t know!”

Inadequate training, employee turnover and mismanagement are all too blame when one of your employees don’t know what they should. Our economy is changing which means now is the time to invest in your employees by adequately training them; invest in your processes by objectively analyzing them; and invest in your customers by delivering what they want, when they want it, at a competitive price. If you don’t, you may find yourself saying, “I didn’t know our customers were so unhappy.”

Rene Jones is the founder of Total Logistics Solutions (www.logisticsociety.com), a warehouse efficiency company.