Supply chain infographic

 

While many people dislike the idea of change (and let’s face it, that’s all of us at least sometimes), change is a natural occurrence in both life and work.

Nowhere is this truer than in a warehouse. While the basic duties of warehouse management may never really change, the constantly changing demands of warehousing and retail mean you need to constantly make sure your various processes and goals are up to date and can get things done.

This goes double for any changes to your supply chain. Whether you’re introducing a new vendor, changing your product arrangements with a current vendor, or finding new delivery partners, supply chains are an ever-evolving part of your warehouse and any changes made within can have a large impact on your warehouse as a whole.

To that end, there’s a lot of steps you should take before making any major changes to your supply chain. Here’s a few things we think any warehouse should consider before making a change to your current supply chain:

 

Start planning early

If it even seems like a possibility that you’ll have to start making changes to your supply chain, you’ll want to start laying out a plan to manage this change as soon as possible. Assess what the potential impact of any of these changes will be, from an effect on the vendors to a change in workload for the staff on the floor, and begin making adjustments as necessary. Even if these plans change over time, having an idea for a plan of attack will go a long way towards keeping everything manageable.

 

Keep your team involved

One of the worst mistakes you can make when planning changes to a supply chain is by not involving everyone who needs to be kept appraised. Shift leads, management, the shipping/receiving department, and more will all be potentially impacted by any changes being made to the way your supply chain operates and functions, and everyone needs to be clued into these changes before they start to affect how the warehouse works as a whole.

 

Review any impact on your layout and processes

If your supply chain is moving towards a faster delivery metric or enhanced customer service, this is going to change how your warehouse looks and functions in the long run. Take a look at your current industrial shelving, including things like pallet racks and wire shelves, and see what will have to be moved around or expanded to keep up with your new supply chain demands. Similarly, you’ll want to get with your floor staff and look into what sort of procedures may be impacted by these changes, like picking processes, item locations, and inventory counting methods.

 

Monitor the changes as they progress

Finally, even minor changes like new delivery KPIs or different vendors for certain items aren’t done once they’ve taken place. Keep an eye on your daily operations and see what kind of impact you’ve been faced with, and what you can do to further mitigate any slowdown in operation and impact on your workers. Make sure everyone is hitting their goals, and remember to be flexible—if your change management plan hasn’t been as helpful as you had initially hoped, don’t be afraid to alter it as needed to keep things flowing smoothly.

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