Using Productivity Practices During Downtimes

PROSOLVE’S PRESIDENT OFFERS ADVICE TO IMPACTED ENERGY INDUSTRY COMPANIES

Organizations feeling the impact from the recent energy industry downturn can use this time to their advantage.

“The best time to make operational changes are during the slow times,” says David Hall, P. Eng, President of ProSolve Consulting. “Now that projects are being put on hold and offices are slowing down, this is a good time to reflect on how to improve the efficiency of operations, reduce costs when it is most valuable, without layoffs, and prepare for even greater profits when the industry starts to recover.”

Hall says organizations can do several things during this downtime to better position themselves in the future:

  1. Revise strategic plans
    1. Reduce your risks by making more effective use of existing resources and assets.
    2. Review expenditures and consider timing: Is this the right time to buy that new equipment? What other options do you have? Consider application of Productivity Principles to draw the most value from your existing resources. Returns can be achieved in weeks, which makes you more nimble to attack new opportunities.
    3. Review labour requirements: Do you reduce staff and run the risk of losing exceptional talent? Consider the people you have to get the current work done as well as to review current processes, document best practices and increase training to enhance manufacturing capability, system quality, and reduce waste.
    4. How much has your company invested in hiring and training people? You risk losing that investment if people are laid off. Consider how much it will cost you to replace and train new people when industry eventually recovers. Develop people to their full potential.
  1. Review working capital
    1. Consider your supply chain, current inventory levels, and purchasing plans in light of your lower revenue expectations. What can you return to vendors or sell at a reduced price while there is still demand, to return working capital back into cash?
    2. What commitments have you made to suppliers? Is there an opportunity to reduce the size of deliveries, and implement just-in-time strategies to match the timing of payments to the timing of collections from your customers? Your suppliers are as concerned as you are about the changing business environment. Partner with your suppliers and build trust so that you can rely on their support during slow periods.
    3. Consider where and how you store your inventory. Do you have a warehouse lease or agreement coming up that you can renegotiate in favour of leasing a smaller footprint? Effective inventory management can dramatically reduce operating expenses and reduce negative cash flow.
  1. Find new opportunities: We’ve all heard the expression “when a door closes, a window opens”. Consider thinking outside the box.
    1. Are there other markets into which you could sell your products?
    2. Are there other products your customers use that you could adapt and produce as well, using your existing capacity and infrastructure?
    3. What other products can you move through your distribution network?
    4. How else can you utilize your technology? What needs can your technology serve?
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What is Slotting?

Slotting is a process to allocate storage locations and space for different skus in warehouse inventory. Slotting many skus in their correct places results in faster stock selection times, higher productivities, and greater satisfaction for customers.

SIGNS OF POOR SLOTTING
There are many indicators that your current product slotting may need attention, including:

  • Inefficient use of storage space;
  • Excessively large facilities and high facility costs;
  • No space to accommodate new SKUs;
  • Low productivity of order picking and replenishment operations;
  • Frequent ergonomic related injuries.

 

REQUIRED INFORMATION
There are three main types of information required to perform a slotting optimization:

  • SKU Information – Information related to the dimensions, weight, demand, and other characteristics of the SKUs in inventory.
  • Storage Information – Information related to the existing (or desired) configuration of the storage equipment, pick zones, and pick paths.
  • Slotting Rules – Definition of the criteria used to determine the improved slotting plan.

 

BENEFITS OF WAREHOUSE OPTIMIZATION
With efficient slotting to improve your warehouse operations, you can:

  • Avoid the cost of moving to a larger facility to handle more SKUs or higher inventory levels;
  • Compress the footprint required by your existing operation, creating free space for other value-added activities;
  • Improve the productivity and ergonomics of your order picking and replenishment processes.
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Excessive Workplace Walking Hazardous to Productivity ‘Health’

How can a reduction in excessive walking lower an organizations’ carbon footprint?

20131021-LEAN800It’s common knowledge that walking has great benefits to a person’s health, and numerous fitness and health professionals highly encourage walking to enhance an individual’s health. However, an Edmonton-based management consulting company is encouraging organizations to reduce excessive walking at the workplace.

ProSolve Consulting, Ltd. says companies need to realize that too much on-the-job walking can be detrimental to the organization’s productivity health, and actually contributes to increasing the company’s carbon footprint.

As Canadians take efforts to be more lean and green during Waste Reduction Week, ProSolve would like to encourage people to eliminate their “walking waste” in the workplace.

“Wastes from walking are one of the leading causes of ‘death’ to an organization’s bottom line,” says David Hall, President of ProSolve Consulting, Ltd. “In our experience, few employers realize that by simply reducing the number of movements their employees need to take to accomplish their daily work tasks can significantly improve their organization’s productivity, eliminate wastes, and reduce their carbon footprint.”

Hall also notes that, “Organizations that have too many employees walking unnecessarily spend more money on space, time and quality than organizations that have eliminated their walking wastes.”

The effects of excessive walking in the workplace can have a negative impact on employees, as well as the organization, including:

    • fatigued employees with reduced levels of alertness, impacting safety and product quality.
    • wasted space that inevitably fills with work-in-process, scrap, or garbage; areas that are difficult to clean and contribute to poor housekeeping. There is a direct correlation between housekeeping and safety.
    • poor space utilization is expensive, costing extra heating, lighting, taxes, and rent, which produce nothing in return for the organization, and increases the organization’s carbon footprint.
    • extra space that hides process inefficiency; as the cost of the hidden factory goes up, productivity and profitability goes down.

 

ProSolve prescribes the following simple steps to reduce excessive workplace walking:

    • start small. Pick an area that seems to have lots of people movement, but not a lot of productivity. Are employees moving from station to station empty-handed? Are they carrying tools instead of product? Are they moving around searching for things?
    • create a process flow diagram of the area, and compare it to the physical layout of work stations? Are the workstations placed in the same order as they are on the flow diagram? If not, re-order the workstations to match the flow diagram, so products (not people) move from station to station.
    • move the work stations closer to one another. This will reduce walking and free up space that can be used more profitably.
    • Are the employees walking around stacks of inventory? What is the source of this additional inventory? You can reduce the waste of too much walking by addressing another source of waste – over-production. Eliminate the extra inventory and further reduce walking distances, while opening up areas for more profitable activity.

 

So, as everyone is gearing up to do their part during Waste Reduction Week, ProSolve advises people to walk to work, but take note of their step count during work shifts, and implement small ‘step-saving’ techniques to be waste wise while at work.

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B620-09 Now in Effect

B620-09 Now in Effect

HIGHWAY TANKS AND TC PORTABLE TANKS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS

As of July 15, 2014, the new Regulations come into force, including the CSA Standards B620, B621 and B622.

As a transitional provision, a person may, for a period of six months that begins on July 15, 2014, comply with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations as they read on July 13, 2014.  This means that compliance is mandatory after January 15, 2015.

Please call us if you require any clarification or to discuss the impact this announcement will have on your business.

CONTACT US

ProSolve’s Design Engineers have extensive experience in TDG highway tank vehicle modifications, new designs, and facility registrations. If you have any questions about your highway tank vehicle design, the new Regulations, the enactment schedule, or the Transitional Provision period contained in the Regulation amendments, please call us.

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