Oxford Holt & Company




Warehousing

 

This blue-chip PLC had manufacturing plants situated at several sites throughout the UK.  The logistics side of the business was based at a central warehousing and distribution facility which also housed the Logistics Management and Administration teams.


Three satellite units supplemented the main "picking" warehouse for the group; unfortunately, they were hundreds of miles apart!  In addition to the running costs associated with the warehouses, several other problems had emerged:


  • Stock had to be transported between the various sites
  • Products held in storage were often duplicated, leading to over-stocking
  • The operation was difficult to manage effectively, mainly due to the geographical constraints

Our solution centred on consolidating onto one site, consisting of a main warehouse and a back-up store to handle seasonal products.  We also devised a complete working layout and a series of standard operating procedures to accompany the changed conditions. 


As a result of the project, two of the warehouses were closed, stock was reduced and the new layout led to more efficient picking and despatch.





Distribution


Our client had a problem within the transport and distribution department.  The company is part of a well-known PLC and had a fleet of around 20 vehicles, delivering to all sizes of retail outlets throughout the UK.  These ranged from "corner shops" to warehouses. 


A new Senior Manager had been recruited who had identified some fundamental flaws in both strategy and operation within the department.  At this point, we were asked to provide him with Consultancy assistance as a means of verifying his initial thoughts, devising an improvement strategy and implementing the plan.  Our strategy required making a number of changes:


  • KPI's were developed, covering; routes, mileage, MPG, driver performance etc. 
  • Use of the KPI's resulted in improvements across virtually every area
  • The company's rules and regulations covering the Distribution function were tightened
  • Distribution department staff were re-trained

The project was undertaken on a basis of 2-3 days per week over several months and resulted in some impressive savings, that included:


  • The fleet was reduced by three vehicles
  • Mileage was reduced by 11%
  • MPG was improved by 9%

Overall, savings were in the order of £275k per annum.





Warehouse productivity


This company is a well-known supplier of consumer products to retail outlets throughout the UK.  Increased competition had resulted in profit margins being squeezed to the point where the company had been making a loss for the previous two years. 


Management had been tasked with an objective of reducing operating costs in all parts of the business and we were invited to improve the performance of the warehousing and despatch functions.  Initial diagnostic work suggested that the main opportunities were to be found in the control of manpower to cope with fluctuating demands.  In addition, picking accuracy and general service levels were poor. 


Remedial action was based on firstly improving the operating methods and then formulating a series of KPI's that predicted staffing numbers for different levels of output.  This led to the introduction of a "job and finish" system of working to ensure that daily requirements were met without resorting to overtime.


Although staff were initially sceptical, the changes were introduced without any IR difficulties.  Savings  of approximately 15% were achieved.