Helping Manufacturers save money

With many organisations now being driven by economic difficulty and a raft of growing business pressures Matt Grierson, managing director at Dexion, a member of the Constructor Group, discusses where many of them are missing a trick in order to stay one step ahead of the game.

Time is money, and these days this hasn’t been truer, especially in logistics. The ability to enhance operations within the supply chain is key to delivering great customer service, enhancing the logistics chain and growing sales.  All of this can put a strain on management and in an economy where everyone is spending cautiously, making a mistake can cost you – both in profitability and customer loyalty. Getting it right is important.

Manufacturers are under intense pressure to simultaneously cut costs, meet more exacting delivery targets, boost productivity and reduce inventories. To help achieve this, attention is turning to manufacturers’ warehouses – both goods inwards and goods outwards – often long-overlooked islands of inefficiency. In order to win the contracts that will keep businesses profitable, proving that they can deliver on tight service level agreements is key. To do that, manufacturers need to know that their warehouse is fully optimised to work at the highest efficiency and productivity rate possible.

Countries such as Finland, Spain, Russia and Saudi Arabia have often been described as ‘automation hotspots’—places where economic, labour, cultural and market conditions have encouraged these countries to be the early adopters of warehouse automation. Automating the picking, of all categories of products (ambient, chilled and frozen) is now a common reality in these countries due to conditions such as escalating labour costs. So where can the UK learn from these early adopters?

There are various automated storage and retrieval systems on the market. The trick is finding the right one for a specific business, configuring it to its specific needs and customising it to the company’s operating environment and products. The type of system selected should optimise the space in which, and the speed at which, it operates.

By choosing the right racking and storage solutions and automating some of the processes within the supply chain, there is no doubt that the benefits will include an increased efficiency on the time in which goods are shipped in and out of the warehouse, and reduced labour costs.

Warehouse efficiency ultimately holds the key to increasing businesses ROI. Finding the right solutions will depend greatly on the type of business or the type of goods being handled. There is no “one size fits all” approach to optimising a warehouse but working with specialist project managers and consultants to find the right solutions will ensure the greatest ROI for businesses

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