In the office, the Sales, Customer Service, and Finance departments are customer facing. Their job roles naturally support client interaction on a daily and weekly basis. But the Distribution Center (DC) team, which specializes in the logistics of receiving, storing, packing, shipping, and delivering product, are often behind the scenes. Some of the most hardworking people in the business, our DC team works tirelessly to turn the efforts of the other departments into action. This team comprises the truck drivers, forklift operators, and DC managers and supervisors, all of whom are indispensable to the success of our operations.
In this week’s blog, we highlight the DC team and the amazing work they are doing with a quick interview, so you can get to know the significance of their role a little better.
What are some new projects that the distribution center has been working on in 2019?
“Some new initiatives we’ve been taking in the DC is working toward more continuous improvement measures to create long term success. It has been a slow process because we want to make it sustainable, but we are working each week to 5S (Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize, Sustain) different facets of the warehouse. We have also added a KPI board to keep track of the 4 metrics we are constantly tracking — Safety, Quality, Delivery, and Inventory. The goal with this board is to make our progress more visible to the team and company on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.”
When it comes to daily processes, how does each facet of the DC work together logistically to achieve goals?
“We run extremely lean in the warehouse so there is little room for deviation from processes. Each and every team member in the DC is working hard each day to achieve our end goal of fulling orders for our customers. At the start of each day, our Distribution Center Manager, Dale Coyne, and our Logistics Supervisor, Anthony Rosado, create truck routes for the next day, which are then passed on to our forklift operators who pull and stage the orders to be loaded. Throughout the entire day we are receiving product from our vendors. Each vendor is required to make an appointment within a specific time range because we plan our dock receiving space around the exact pallet counts being delivered. This way, we can receive as much as possible without running into space constraints.
Organization is key in the warehouse and a lot of that starts the minute that product is being received. If we overcrowd our dock, problems arise further down the chain. Once the product is received, our team works to clear it off the dock and put it away in the correct bin location before the next appointment. This is vital because if something is not in location once the team is pulling the orders, it delays the whole process.”
What are some things you would like to see implemented in the future at United Packaging?
“We would like to see the finalization of the continuous improvement implementation. It is always ongoing, but having the DC ‘5S-ed’ and the KPI board completed is something that will be exciting to see. It has been a long-term project and we have been working very hard to show improvement. Once the KPI board is fully utilized, it will promote more ideas from everyone on the team. That’s going to be a huge key to success out there.”
Taylor Held, Manager of Distribution Center Operations, talks about the team in her own words.
“The DC team members are amazing. I have never seen a team come together to help each other out more than I see out there. Working in a lean environment can be stressful, but they always seem to get the job done. There is a lot of work behind the scenes to get requests filled. The team comes up with creative solutions to fulfill requests every day. Not only are they fulling the orders that come in, they are also bringing new ideas on processes can be more efficient. One idea that was brought to up by one of our Distribution Center employees, Herman Pabon, was enacted last week. He had the idea of a set location for all rework, suggesting that the bin information stay attached to the product — thus streamlining the put-away process.
The team out there is great and gets along well. When they are joking around or one of them is singing or telling jokes early in the morning to get everyone in a good mood for the day, it shows that they are all team players.”