After a few useless links had been dropped from the chain of command, it was time for "controllers" — the people who keep an eye on the job queue and control the depot workers so they do what they are supposed to. There was about one controller for ten workers. Every day tons of paperwork were churned out, and especially clever workers manipulated the queue by putting unpleasant paper bills at the bottom of the pile.
After looking closely at the problem we also discovered some cases of hazing.
The solution? Automatic assignment of jobs to workers in the warehouse, completely paper-free.
After the solution’s introduction to the warehouse of Just.ru the following dramatic changes took place.
The complex internal hierarchy and functional divisions (labelers, couriers, section staff etc.) were done away with. Only rank and file workers with identical functions remained. Depot sections were also removed, leaving one big flat open space. The section of small and expensive products is the only one that remains, it must be separate for security reasons.
Now a depot worker receives an abstract job on the mobile data terminal, which may be unloading, labeling, storing.
The worker does not have to think where to get the items and where to put them, the job list tells him — although that feature was already available at the previous step. But the removal of sections and even distribution of products in the warehouse have produced an unexpected result: keeping different products in cells has made retrieval much easier.
Formerly, when, for example, printer cartridges were stored with other cartridges finding the right one among hundreds involved scrutinizing labels, and errors could still be made. Those errors would be found and fixed, but later, at bar code scanning, so time was lost.
Now when dia$par directs workers to keep together a cartridge, a USB cable, a motherboard and blank CDs, even a child can retrieve the right thing.
All this has boosted speed and quality of work many times over!
In practical terms:
Contrast small-product storage sped up retrieval for a number of product groups by up to 40%.
The warehouse has stopped generating tons of useless paper bills and got rid of printers. This will save tens of thousands dollars a month on printing.
It now takes a day and a half to familiarize a new depot worker with the job; one day out of that is getting processed at Human Resources. A depot worker does not need to think AT ALL. ™
The depot operates 365 days a year round the clock, offloads up to 1000 orders a day, and it is now managed by 3 administrators.
The rest of the staff are rank and file soldiers.
What is the cost of change? Peanuts. Much less than what the printing would cost.