There is no such thing as a single “best practice” in the material handling industry. The best practice can take any form, but it always delivers the same outcome: the most efficient system to achieve your business goal.
Sometimes the goal is small – improving a single function to eliminate a bottleneck. Other times, the goal is life or death – reinventing an entire operation to keep the business profitable. The best solution could be a carousel, conveyor, bagging system or an entirely new invention.
No two goals are the same, and no two solutions are the same.
You would think that for any given industry, there would be an established best practice. But it turns out that the best practice is a matter of opinion. Even in a tight-knit industry, every business evolves independently. Everyone has their own products. They create their processes on their own. Along the way, their operations grow, branching in many directions. Eventually, competitors have more differences than they have in common.
Some businesses are pretty consistent – mail order apparel, for example. Most companies have a similar challenge and a similar goal. Garments, shoes and accessories need to be picked and packed out overnight. But even with similar products and goals, everyone finds a different way to get things done.
No two operations are alike. Therefore the only way to improve efficiency is to start by understanding a client’s business goal, existing systems, mix of orders, and investment capability – for starters.
Best practices are discovered through analysis.
They are the end result of observation, questions, listening and study. They aren’t on page 496 of a textbook. They must be designed one by one to achieve specific goals.
Let’s talk for a second about what goes into listening and understanding. There must always be a site visit, in-person questions, watching the operation, studying the plans – what we’ve always done for the past 40 years. Over the past decade, we’ve added another angle to finding the best solution for you – data and statistical analysis. How we analyze your data is best discussed in person. What do you get from our analysis? Clear-cut solutions and the hard evidence to back them up.
We find the best ROI
The best practice is “best” because it pairs the most efficient operations with the best ROI. The best practice is not just operationally efficient, it is financially efficient. It sounds simple, but the term “best practices” has been thrown around so much, it’s easy to forget.
When we present a solution – a best practice – it always comes with an ROI so you can review its financial efficiency. We back up the ROI with our analysis of your data, and we walk you through how we figured it out. You’ll save this much labor, this much space. You’ll reduce your damages by X, your errors by Y. You will know exactly how many days of operations at planned capacity it will take for your investment to return to you.
A specific solution with a strong ROI that makes your business more efficient. Now that’s a best practice.