The ability to fill customer orders quickly, accurately, and efficiently separates winning companies from their less fortunate peers. However, it takes substantial logistics experience and expertise to ascertain how well operations are performing and whether there are any hidden surprises lurking around the corner.
Fortunately, the logistics professionals at Astute Diligence can assist you with a complete logistics assessment of a target company, including in-depth process analysis, key metric performance reviews, and an overall assessment of organizational capabilities.
- Receiving Process Assessment. We answer important questions about the receiving operations, such as: Is there advanced notification of receipt of goods?
- Put-Away Process Assessment. We assess put-away operations, and resolve important issues including: How well are storage locations managed?
- Storage Process Assessment. We review storage procedures and highlight key storage issues such as: Are storage slots organized to maximize pick density and minimize pick times? Does the warehouse make appropriate use of pallet rack for bulk storage, flow rack for high-volume picking, bin-shelving for slower picking, and carousels for specialized applications? What material handling equipment or conveyor systems are used during storage processes?
- Restocking Process Assessment. We determine important features of the target's restocking processes, including: How well is execution of restocking to fast-pick areas conducted?
- Order Picking Process Assessment. We analyze order picking for efficiency and effectiveness, looking at key issues such as: Are inventory availability checks based on real-time data? Do slotting plans and automation minimize travel and pick times? What is the level of automation technology (pick-to-light; put-to-light; sortation devices, etc.) that is used? Does the company utilize zone, batch or wave picking techniques? Is picking primarily each-pick or case-pick? How are rush, expedited orders handled?
- Packing Process Assessment. We determine whether packing operations conform to best practices, asking questions such as: How many packing stations are there? Does packing have the potential to be a bottleneck during peak order periods?
- Shipping Process Assessment. We examine shipping process in detail. Are shipping manifest systems reliable? How much time elapses from the arrival of an order into our system until it is loaded onto a truck for shipping?
- Transportation Planning. We summarize processes and issues associated with transportation. For example: Are carriers, couriers and private fleet operations integrated into the plan before picking begins? Can substantial cost savings be achieved that have not previously been identified?
- Ancillary Processes Assessment. We review other processes that may occur in the warehouse such as cross-dock fulfillment, order kitting, expiration date tracking, lot control, hazardous materials management, labeling, handling of promotional items, cycle counting, invoicing, and returns processing.
- Quality Assurance Process Assessment. We ascertain whether quality control is an implicit part of all warehouse operations. What are the processes for inspection of received goods? How does the company check for order completeness and accuracy? Is statistical process control practiced, and if so with what degree of sophistication?
- Layout Assessment. We inspect the layout of the warehouse. Do products flow continuously through the warehouse or are there stoppage points that require costly double-handling? Are receiving and shipping located such that throughput is maximized? Are lane depth and width appropriate? Is rent per square foot higher or lower than market? What percentage of storage capacity is utilized? What are the expansion options?
- Inventory Control Assessment. Quality inventory information is one of the most fundamental drivers behind a successful distribution operation. Is inventory scanned at all transaction points to ensure complete visibility of raw materials, work in process, and finished goods? Can accurate and current order status be attained easily?
- Labor Assessment. We calculate labor requirements based on throughput estimates and determine if the warehouse is overstaffed, properly staffed, or understaffed. We calculate throughput potential based on current staffing. We review training procedures and materials for in-house and contracted labor. We review warehouse employee hiring trends, evaluate union involvement, and informally assess employee morale.
- Facilities Assessment. We evaluate the facilities. Is the warehouse clean and well-cared for? Is the warehouse well lit? Is their appropriate safety and compliance signage within the facilities? What security precautions are in place to prevent theft? Are heating and air conditioning systems sufficient? Are break areas comfortably designed for employees?
- Logistics Human Capital Assessment. We assess the experience and capabilities of senior management associated with the target's distribution and logistics functions. What is their prior track record? Are they well regarded within the industries in terms of customer, supplier, and employee satisfaction?
- Key Metrics Assessment. We collect various productivity statistics such as picks per person-hour and order fill rates.
- Technical Infrastructure Review. We evaluate the use of technology within the target's distribution operations, including its use of Warehouse Management System (WMS), Radio Frequency (RF), Bar Code, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) technologies, and Automated Material Handling Equipment. How well do in-house technologies support current and future needs? Are reporting capabilities sufficient? How does customer service access information concerning logistics (e.g. order status)?