UK warehouses waste 3000 hours a year on poor processes
Workflow performance company Intermec have discovered that UK distribution centres lose nearly 3,000 hours a year as a result of unproductive workflows.
Using a survey base of 250 supply chain, warehouse and distribution managers, Intermec established that each worker loses 15 minutes of productivity per eight hour shift as a result of an inefficient process.
According to previous findings by Intermec, nearly eight out of ten warehouse managers have been tasked with finding an average 19 percent cost saving from existing operations. Despite a mounting pressure to cut costs and the need to find efficiency gains, UK warehouse managers admit to losing time and money through known inefficient workflows.
Most managers have been tasked with finding cost savings, however almost one in three (30 percent) have not conducted a review of the workflow processes in their distribution centre within the past year, however this is the first step towards identifying improvement areas.
Over a quarter of the managers surveyed believe the most inefficient workflow in an eight hour shift Is inventory control (26 percent), closely followed by packing and unloading (20 percent) and picking (18 percent).
Companies that have recently conducted a workflow process review say that inventory control and picking are the two areas where cost savings could most easily be achieved.
Despite the potential to cut costs, research shows that companies who are yet to take action to increase productivity show high levels of resistance to carrying out a full review. Most shocking of all in a world in which every customer’s business is hard won, and even harder kept, nearly one in five companies who say they will not review their workflow processes until after a customer complaint has been received.
Nearly all respondents to the survey (94 percent) agreed that the key to achieving performance across the warehouse and distribution centre is investment in new technology, which would enable them to claw back lost time and ensure greater productivity/.
In addition, over three quarters of the managers surveyed agreed that ‘large time and cost savings opportunities can be found in gaining back mere seconds in operations workflows’.
Ian Snadden, VP EMEA at Intermec, said: “Warehouse managers are faced with significant cost saving challenges, which means they can’t afford to let such levels of time wastage continue. Businesses should be looking at every workflow in detail, on a regular basis, to claim back the minutes and seconds they need to achieve these savings. As this research shows, reviewing their technology infrastructure may be the perfect place to start.”
*Intermec research conducted by Vanson Bourne reveals that the average worker loses an average of more than 15 minutes a day / 58 hours a year / 8 working days year. Assuming a warehouse with a minimum of 50 warehouse workers, this equates to 2,899 hours a year.
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.