Lucas customers achieve 36 percent improvements in picking productivity, on average, and while much of the gains can be attributed to better, more efficient hands-on processes, two recent customer examples show how real-time visibility and better work management can contribute to worker productivity.
Resnick Distributors in New Jersey and Imperial Distributing in Massachusetts have a few things in common. They both distribute a wide array of products that are picked using a variety of picking processes in different areas of the DC. After items are picked they are merged prior to loading onto trucks. In order to efficiently merge orders and load trucks, the picking processes need to be synchronized across the warehouse. If one area gets ahead, there’s a good chance workers in that area will be standing around waiting for work while other areas catch up. Idle workers mean unproductive time, which adds to labor costs.
When picking is performed using paper, managers have no visibility into how much work is left in different areas, so they don’t have the information they need to move workers between zones in order to balance workflow. As execs at Imperial and Resnick describe it, by the time managers could see the workflow getting out of balance, it was too late to avoid the problem. And problems in the pick areas would ripple through to the shipping dock, with impacts on delivery times, the efficiency of loading products, and labor utilization.
That all changed once they started using Jennifer Mobile applications and the Engage Management Dashboard. With Engage, managers at Resnick have real-time visibility into the status of work by load or route across the various picking areas, explains Steve Resnick, the company president. “Managers have real-time data that they need to do their jobs better. Using the Engage dashboard, managers can view the status of work and current productivity and make immediate decisions about allocating workers to different areas. There are no delays.” (Read the full press release here.)
At ProMat this spring, Perry Lundberg, VP of Distribution Logistics at Imperial Distributors described a similar situation (view the full presentation). Before installing Engage, supervisors would have to go around to the various picking areas to find out how much work was left in each zone, then run back to the office and make calculations before the necessary adjustments could be made. As one could imagine, the twelve pick modules would rarely get down to shipping at the same time. Now, managers on the floor at Imperial use Engage running on tablets to view real-time work completion and productivity across their twelve pick modules, and they can then move workers from one area to another as needed to ensure on-time shipping and more efficient loading.
Few customers have quantified the productivity gains that can be attributed directly to Engage’s real-time information. At Resnick, better management insight through Engage has contributed to an overall 30 percent reduction in labor costs. Those results are far beyond what you would expect from moving to hands-free picking processes alone.
If you are interested in hearing about other ways that customers are using real-time reporting through Engage to improve operations, consider joining us for our next webinar – Real-Time Visibility Beyond The WMS. Sign up for our email newsletter using this form to get an invitation to the online event: