Space and Labor Surveys Often Provide Big Benefits
Not just being competitive, but excelling in today’s evolving inventory and order picking is essential for meeting corporate financial expectations. Often the difference between good and excellent comes from an expert eye performing a space and labor survey.
Two of the biggest cost factors in every facility and industry are space and labor. Space is the physical footprint required to manufacture, distribute and/or manage a product or service.
By minimizing this operational footprint, organizations can significantly reduce operating costs. There are many common and best practices that can be employed to minimize an organization’s footprint and provide the increased value and savings associated with it.
Labor is often the largest cost consideration of a business and is the most difficult to manage and control. Good practice here also requires that the elements that add to the cost of labor, such as health insurance and training, be minimized without risking throughput or quality. A quick fix to reducing space and labor costs has been to set up offshore operations.
Clearly the simpler the manufacturing process and commoditization, the greater the success of off-shore operations. Going offshore provides space and labor for pennies on the dollar when compared with direct costs of operating in North America. However, many businesses are seeing the true cost of offshore operations as being much higher than anticipated.
After calculating additional costs of an extended supply chain, poor quality control, loss of intellectual property, corporate officer’s personal legal liability for product issues, and lack of responsiveness to the marketplace, many companies are bring their operations back to North America or "re-shoring".
Often higher US space and labor costs can be offset by implementing improved processes, procedures and automated material handling systems. Whether it’s refurbishing existing equipment or integrating new equipment, software, processes or procedures the real answer will always come down to the ROI (return on investment) which a good survey will provide.
By conducting a space and labor survey with credible integrators such as Integrated Systems Design - ISD, organizations can quickly gain insight into space and labor dynamics and how they influence profitability. A survey allows an organization to find the processes best suited to optimization, which translates into the competitive advantages required to excel in today’s global economy.
Space…Use it or Lose It
There's an intrinsic value associated with space and successful organizations convert space into opportunities. For example, consolidation and optimization might be the right solution for too much space. Can multiple facilities or departments with inventories of spare parts for manufacturing, maintenance, customer service, customer walk-ups, ecommerce, mail order, retail and wholesale facilities be combined? Consolidating operations, particularly non-value added operations such as storage, not only reduces inventory, but also recovers space for valued-added operations. In some cases, entire buildings can be eliminated from operations.
Space optimization, or the reclamation of unused space, can be achieved through process improvement and the installation of high-density storage and material handling equipment. Improving processes often translates into balancing zones better, reducing buffer storage, eliminating excess inventory and reducing handling by combining applications and areas. By reducing the amount of space required for operations, companies can construct smaller, more energy efficient buildings (shrinking the construction footprint by up to 15% in some cases), conserve natural resources and reduce maintenance costs. This improved space utilization helps reduce energy costs, which helps reduce an organization’s overall carbon footprint. With a proper survey, these space optimization elements can be observed, measured, analyzed, and then implemented.
ISD - Integrated Systems Design is a leading manufacturer and systems consultant, designer and integrator for warehouse, manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, institutions and retail organizations in North America. ISD systems are renowned for their tremendous value, reliability and ease of maintenance. Our systems are designed using technologies from the leading material handling manufacturers of the world.
Solutions designed by ISD focus on providing space savings, increased productivity, reduced labor, enhanced accuracy and system flexibility to change as an operation's activities change over time. Utilizing proven technology and off the shelf components helps provide cost effective solutions requiring minimum maintenance and yields a fast Return on Investment (ROI).
ISD expertise ranges from handling and picking pieces (eaches), cases, pallets, build lines, manufacturing systems and special or custom handling solutions. Products and services include: automatic storage and retrieval (ASRS) units; conveyor; robotics; batch stations; automatic printers and inserters; pick-to-light; A-frames; horizontal and vertical carousels; vertical lift modules (VLMs); controls; software (including inventory management, WCS, WMS, MES, and ERP); application and facility consulting and design; AutoCAD; system simulation; equipment moves; installation and service.