One of the UK’s largest food retail, wholesale, and distribution businesses worked with us to transform their wholesale distribution depot into a Centre of Excellence.
This 80,000m² logistics facility and retail warehouse has 2 core processes, ‘receive, store and replenish stock’, and ‘pick and dispatch orders’.
It’s a busy unit with an experienced team under significant time, resource and financial pressures to deliver a high-quality service for their internal and external retail customers.
Their primary focus is to make sure stock gets in and out of the warehouse but there are significant upstream issues impacting on the team’s ability to deliver a quality service.
Over 18 months the team overcame significant challenges to accomplish:
They had some significant challenges to overcome, not least:
But all this was about to change.
Five team members, including the General Manager and his Senior Operations management team, attended a 6 day PMI Process Management for Managers in-house course. It was a big commitment for the team as ‘time out’ wasn’t always possible.
Understandably for people with many years of logistics experience between them, there was some scepticism about the process improvement methods and a concern that this would negatively impact on the day job.
The team were encouraged to visualise their business as a system with interdependent processes. They identified the core processes and, alongside those who were working in the process, they mapped how they were being operated. They discovered that this was often different to how they thought they were being operated.
This single exercise was the catalyst for further change as the team start to appreciate that assumptions had been made about the way in which the work was performed.
The General Manager and his team also mapped out a typical day to get some sense of where their time was spent, in order to gain control of the work and standardise it so they could focus on doing the right things at the right time.
Over the next 18 months, the team continued their improvement journey, supported by a dedicated PMI Consultant working alongside the General Manager. They developed a shared vision and ambition which everyone got behind; ‘Ensure stock is at the right place, at the right time, to the right quality, every time’.
The General Manager, with coaching, addressed the socio-emotional and political aspects, the behavioural ‘things that get in the way’ of the work being done. He spent time addressing concerns and engaging, listening and involving the whole team in the change to enable further improvement.