Superior Customer Service Starts in the Warehouse
In the wholesale distribution business Paramont EO understands that unmatched customer service begins with an efficient warehouse. That’s why we designed our new central warehouse in Woodridge, IL to be much more than just a storage and processing facility. With a thoughtful layout and extremely efficient design, it has become a catalyst for customer delight and value-added services.
More same-day fill rates
One big opportunity for efficiency is the warehouse layout and floor space dedicated to order processing and the processing of incoming materials. Our purchasing manager designed the warehouse to use just 25 percent of its floor space for picking, packing and shipping. According to Retail Online Integration, receiving, picking, packing and shipping typically use 40 percent to 50 percent of the space; product storage takes up the remainder. By receiving, checking-in and stocking material as it comes in, our warehouse fills orders faster. Storing newly delivered material in one space and putting it away en masse seemed to slow down our output and took up valuable floor space. By shelving newly received material right away, we were able to make our receiving area smaller. Changing the receiving process and reducing the footprint of the receiving and processing area freed up space to store more stock. Having additional inventory on-hand in the warehouse means less back orders and more same-day fill rates, which helps our customers get their work done on schedule. Before this, materials and supplies might very well have been in our building but, until the unpacking process was complete it, was not available to sell.
More convenient staging
By better utilizing our floor space Paramont EO was able to dedicate an area of our warehouse for staging orders. We created a unique value add for our customers in the way their orders are processed and staged. Orders can be broken down and organized by floor, building or room, however the customer requests. This way, we are able to drop off exactly what they need for the space they are working on that day. Customers have long suffered with all-in-one deliveries to a dock. Our program, which we call “Direct from Warehouse,” saves them time and leads to fewer install errors. Faster filled orders By grouping items that are frequently ordered together, our pickers are able to fill orders at a faster pace, taking less steps through the warehouse and reducing their travel time between items. Supply Chain 24/7 estimates that travel time can easily account for 50 percent or more of order picking hours and states that productivity is improved when items are at ground level. We exceed this best practice. At our warehouse, about 90 percent of our stock is kept at ground level and can be picked on foot or by small ladder. We are not opposed to moving vertical as we grow and use more space. But, we moved into an 80,000-square-foot building in 2013 to spread our wings. Keeping logistics in mind, we located our slower moving, yet still necessary, stock at the far end of our building.
Better service, teamwork
Staffing the warehouse correctly and playing to people’s strengths is also important to achieving maximum efficiency. We have specialists that work in our warehouse; while everyone is capable of filling an order, we understand there are people that are simply better at some things than others—everyone has their strengths and we work with those abilities. We often split up items from a pick ticket and have teams fill orders. For example, one picker will pull common stock while another person cuts wire. The items that they gather are placed in one area to be checked by another person to ensure completeness and accuracy of the items picked. We find that by sharing the load, we cater to the assets of our workers and this limits any filling errors.
Want to learn more? We offer warehouse tours to contractors and builders of all sizes. Call 708.345.0000 to schedule a tour today.