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Distributor's Link Magazine Summer 2022 / Vol 45 No 3


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 IF YOU TRUST THE WAREHOUSE The Spring issue of Link Magazine discussed using statistical sampling as a way to build trust in your warehouse staff and processes. It also presented a rationale for building trust with everyone involved in your business (staff, vendors, and customers) and achieving a “comfort level” with standards for accuracy, productivity and communication. This article addresses the more practical and pragmatic aspics of successfully implementing a program that everyone embraces. Greater Trust Leads To New Procedures Start with some simple changes. Every picker and packer needs to have their own tools with them as they travel thru the warehouse. Maintaining small items such as knives, markers and pens in a tool pouch around their waist, with a tote for supplies and tape is easy to implement. Adding a battery powered weighcounting scale to their carts, (not a fixed stationary location) greatly improves productivity in an immediately noticeable change. This sets the stage for implementing “pick/pack where materials for each customer order are removed from the shelves and placed directly in the right box with every individual picker/packer directly responsible for continually checking their own activities. . It is simple, but sophisticated, technique that eliminates checking, order packing and a host of minor functions that are unnecessary if the personnel can be trusted do their jobs with a very high level of accuracy. When initially implementing a “Pick/Pack” program CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE packers are usually the best candidates for repurposing. They already know how to “build a box” for the best packing job to protect the contents. In addition, they should be able to achieve greater success in choosing what size box to fill. The initial pick/packers then train the others and act as the lead “go to” resource. This adds an element of learning and teaching with the first initiators taking ownership of the program. With statistical Sampling in place, new hires should become pickers where their output can easily be inspected. This initially means a 100% inspection of every order prior to the carton being sealed and later examined using the same 4% random sampling inspection as all the sealed orders. It is never enough to check and correct. Data that is collected and recorded should be regularly examined; especially during and immediately before a 30 day probationary period expires. Elimination of marginal performers during the first 30 days saves a lot of future aggravation. Given that 90% to 95% of a pick/packer’s time is spent in traveling or walking the real pay back comes from “batch picking” larger or multiple orders. The ideal “batch” is any size grouping of single line orders. Accumulating these “one-liners” for periodic picking timed to meet the shipping schedule requires a leap of faith and knowledge of achievable output. Pulling 20 to 100 orders at a time means putting them in warehouse sequence manually by shuffling the paperwork or, preferably, using a WMS program to sequence the pick path. CONTINUED ON PAGE 126

SEMS AND SPECIALS INC THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 45 6483 Falcon Road, Rockford, IL 61109 TEL 1-800-888-7367 FAX 815-874-0100 EMAIL WEB NEW PERSPECTIVES, SAME GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE Sems and Specials, Inc, Rockford based cold header servicing the distribution market, has several announcements to share. Bruce Hayes, who founded Sems and Specials 33 years ago, has taken on the CEO position. Sebastian Janas is now President, handling the day-to-day operations Kelly Charles has been promoted to Vice President of Sales, and is very excited about the changes in the sales department. “We have made some key additions over the past year, enhancing our already-excellent customer service”, Kelly shared. Adding to the already solid team of Becky Russo-Botti, Ed Esparza, Mike Kanaval and Darrell Snedigar, we have 4 new account managers. BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE The 4 new additions each bring an invigorated energy and new perspective to the Sems team. Tim Kubkowski is new to the industry, but is a 3rd generation fastener professional. Erica Strandquist (second generation) has a background in both manufacturing and distribution. Nate Roell has rejoined the team, after spending 6 years at a distributor. Finally, Trish Donalson came on board in May, after many years in customer service at an outside processor. With these additions, Sems and Specials has the capacity and dedicated staff to help our distributor customers grow. Growth breeds excitement, and we are truly excited to be part of your supply chain! Please reach out for a quote today! SEMS AND SPECIALS


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