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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2018 / Vol 41 No2


44 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Robert Footlik Robert B. Footlik, PE is a retired Professional Industrial Engineer. With over 50 years’ experience as a Warehouse and Logistics Consultant to a wide variety of clients including Fastener Distributors, Bob has a wealth of valuable information for our industry and he is willing to share it. While Footlik & Associates is now closed, his expertise is still available to his friends and our readers. For friendly advice, a second opinion or just to start a conversation, he can be reached at THE PARTY PLAN MEETS THE REAL WORLD In the Winter 2018 Issue of this magazine a ”Party Plan Case Study” was presented. It offered a scenario, premise, resources and lots of room for creativity, but what relevance does this have to the real world? Last month I was contacted by a distributor who wanted a layout and planning Consultant to work alongside his Architect. The situation presented was that he is running out of space both in his buildings (multiple) and on site. Searching on his address using Google Earth confirmed that he is currently working out of a collection of buildings on an urban property bounded by well-traveled streets. There is little room for adding maneuvering space for trucks and docks in the center of the land and the probability of backing vehicles into docks facing any street is fairly low. The existing structures are low, small and crammed full, except for a brand new, absolutely outstanding showroom designed by the same Architect. Essentially this means that any additions can only touch (not modify) the showroom and the only practical solution is to build over the various warehouses, then demolish the structures from within. Does this sound a little disruptive to day to day business? Accelerated construction around and above daily operations, customers and visitors is almost impossible to control. Even the best plans will need major tweaking on a minute by minute basis. CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE A cursory look at the satellite view confirmed the tight site and almost impossible situation he described. When he sent photos, existing building plans and a survey it looked hopeless without a lot of money and aggravation. But the first lesson offered by the party planning case study is that it’s your party and you can do what you want. In other words there is no single correct solution. Let’s go back to the first premise that he is running out of space. Is a new building on site the only solution? What about inventory control and off site alternatives? Our next flurry of Emails directed him to make a quick count of all the solid pallets of overstock. These are usually easy to identify because they are still stretch or shrink wrapped. There were hundreds occupying floor space and pallet rack positions that were difficult to reach because of the pallets on the floor blocking movement. While counting he also watched his staff dealing with the crowded conditions. Even without an Industrial Engineering study it was obvious that efficiency was nonexistent because the same pallets were being constantly shifted to open access to materials being picked, stocked or replenished. Product damage from all this movement in confined areas was shocking. Standing in any one place and rotating 360 degrees he saw wasted time, energy, resources and inventory. His people were working hard, but definitely not smart. CONTINUED ON PAGE 130



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