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nGROUP Performance Blog

Visibility Makes a Difference

Posted by Jim Zimmerman on May 16, 2019 8:04:00 AM

Understanding and having insight into a production process is important. That seems obvious, but many key processes are often without strong visibility or reporting. Recognizing the progress (or lack thereof) is important when scheduling orders, planning resources, or simply getting the product shipped on time.

organized warehouse

Most managers know how many units are needed for the day and should have an idea of what was produced by the end of the day.

  • What about a system that provides information to plan staffing, schedule shipments, and notify customers of schedules or delays?
  • Would it be helpful to understand repeating volume trends by month, week, day, or even hourly?
  • Could you schedule shifts configurations to eliminate overtime while better servicing client needs and being more flexible?
  • Could you improve congestion issues in your receiving or shipping docks by booking drop and pickup times more effectively?
  • How much money can you save by planning your workforce better and utilizing fewer people, less space, and less downtime?

Get Your Free Webinar!Developing a production plan

Developing a production plan can be relatively simple if you have the tools, the data, and the understanding of the levers at work. Knowing how much is produced each day is necessary but is not enough. It simply gives you a block of time and a result based on historical expectations. Building a robust system requires data analysis to evaluate trends such as day to day order histories, monthly trends, and applying expected growth and contractions by customer or season.

warehouse efficiency

Many clients have heavy days of the week, such as high Monday and Friday order volume with lulls midweek. Understanding these peaks and valleys allow production planning to have the required staff for the expected volume and lighten coverage for slow periods.

Drilling down even further provides true visibility into specific order data and timing. By capturing real-time/hourly production data and the associated production hours provides the ability to know when an order should be complete. Understanding the resources committed to a process, the work content of the process, the efficiency and expected output of the process, and the process quantity allows users to understand the timing of completion. This, in turn, provides the ability to schedule pickups, inventory moves, and staffing for any process that is properly tracked.


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Consistency and discipline drive the process and removes much of the instability of uninformed decision making. Improvement in the process continues to drive further increases in data, productivity, and overall efficiency. The system tracks individual hours to process, units to the individual (or group), and reports on productivity results versus engineered standards.

This approach is how we can apply the data to forward-looking orders and plan the best approach to meet financial and customer demands.Improve Your Labor Management eBook

In summary, vision into production processes, from VAS, to order picking, to load/unload, is important for planning and executing. The key components of gaining insight into processes are:

  1. Analyzing historical data to understand monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly volumes
  2. Understanding engineered work standards for each process based on work content
  3. Capture all production needs, orders, and/or shipping schedules
  4. Track individual hours and units produced
  5. Utilize the system to schedule staff and resources based on expectations (both historical and engineered)
  6. Utilize reporting from the consolidation of information to provide feedback to staff, vendors, and clients on the status of orders and execution of the process

nGROUP has developed a system that provides real insight into your production processes. We develop and apply these systems as part of our workforce management program to help companies have better financial and service performance in their processes.

Topics: Warehouse Technology, Improve Labor Management, Reduce Cost Per Unit, Warehouse Management, Labor Production, Production Visibility, Understanding Labor Costs