Friday, May 25, 2012

People Management and Inventory Control Systems

I recently read about someone trying to figure out the optimal placement of supervisors.  The writer was sincere in his approach to find a solution.  There were also some sincere response comments stating that a supervisor and their desk should be on the shop floor.  Then they could interact with the workers.  Then he talked about the developmental stage of the employees.  Do they comprehend the job and what was expected of them?  How about training?  Then there was an analogy to solidify his point or was it points?

Of course there are optimal places for all employees, supervisors, workers, management, and ownership for that matter.  The response comments made me think.  In this day and age when driving efficiencies in operations are one of the most critical aspects to reduce costs and remain profitable, why would any company not invest in proper training for their workers?  Do the employees comprehend their job and expectations?  What type of Human Resources department do they have?  Are they in a remote area where there really is no selection of people?  I though unemployment was still high. 

What struck me as interesting was no reference to the systems the people were using.  The only context we have is the forum of warehouse and inventory management. 

Now these were just comments, but it made me think about a recent conversation.  I talked with an organization that needed some customization of their system, because the workers refused to process orders in their system before shipping.  The organization I speak of does invest in their systems and training.  They treat their workers fairly.  They are not in a remote area.  Other talent is available.

We were able to put together a plan that would address their needs, but not until we both commented that there seems to be a disconnect between who signs the paycheck and who cashes them.  The program changes are not really necessary if the people would use the system they were trained on.

Why do companies invest in systems then not use them? 

There may be an optimal place for a supervisor, but we would need to know a lot more about the facility before any reasonable suggestion can be made.  What should be included in their discussion was the type of systems they are using to manage their inventory, their workers, their productivity, and their operations. 

In today’s world you cannot separate the people and the systems they use to do their job. 

If the company is of any size, then they need systems to manage their inventory and work flow.  Management needs dashboards with drill-down capability to get high level snapshots and detailed inquires.  You need inventory control to know what goes where and how much, when to reorder, when to supply production, address customer and manufacturing demand.  You need Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) to manage and track the movement of inventory.  These systems can be set up to capture the detail without adding manpower and result in a database that can be mined for performance metrics to find areas that can be improved.

Supervisors and their placement are critical, but so are the systems they use.

Dolvin Consulting helps Manufacturers, Distributors and Specialty Retailers implement their systems to drive efficiencies in their operations.  We work with your team to document your system and find areas for improvement that can be implemented when your budget permits.  No false promises, just incremental improvements that cut costs and increase profits.  Contact us today, we are here to help.

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