To me it’s rare that change comes without pain but I have experienced it. For one of my accounts, I noticed that we kept on delivering late to every ship to location. I decided to do a deep dive to understand the root cause and figure out a solution. I started with the “5 Why” and went from there. I worked with our transportation team to get their point of view on the carriers we were using and also with our data management team to make sure the locations were set up correctly. After investigation, the routes for each ship to location were set up incorrectly. This made the system trigger the orders later than needed. Instead of giving our warehouse up to 6 days to ship, we were giving them 3-4 days. I worked with our data management team on the recommended routes and adjusted the system. Now we increased our On Time for delivery from 68% to 97%. This was a huge win because this was a seamless change and didn’t impact the use of carriers or the customers.
Most people who ignore signals calling for change are afraid of change. Change can be scary and difficult to the point where most people just avoid it. They’re afraid the decisions they’re making are wrong and will end up failing. Failure can be a good thing though. You can always learn what didn’t work and move on to the next challenge. Nobody wants to fail, but it’s a part of growth that helps you get to the place where you want to be. I’m sure people think it’s harder to do something different that is more difficult than it is to do something new and less steps.
I was trained to run a report that will inform the sales department of the case fill rate for each account for each month and week. The person who created the report showed me how she ran it and I was to follow her steps. This report was monstrous and complicated but it gave the information needed. In the beginning, it would take me about an hour to run then I had to explain it in an email to the sales force so maybe about hour and half. As time went by, I got better and took me less time to run and send it to the team but still took me about 45 minutes to do it. My co-worker said he had a better way of running the report but I was hesitant because I just nailed down running this report. But I sucked it up and we created a faster easier report and now I love it.
Change can be scary but without it you will never know if something is better.
A few months ago at work, my light bulb went on and thought of an idea to see how we can ship the freshest batch of product to a customer along with saving company money.
The customer requires that we ship them product with 80% shelf life on only 3 different batch codes. The product is made at our co-packer in Carol Stream, IL and we have to ship to the customers location in Monroe, NJ. The shipping process was to ship out of our warehouse in Atlanta, GA to Monroe, NJ. So, we would make the product at Carol Stream, IL, schedule a trailer to transfer the product to our shipping warehouse in Atlanta, GA then have a carrier pick up the product to have it delivered to the customers location in Monroe, NJ. To avoid the middleman in Atlanta, GA, I worked with our co-packer to see if it was possible to ship directly from Carol Stream, IL directly to the customer in Monroe, NJ. Shipping direct from co-packers to the customer is not the norm so this would be a project that I had to lead up to ensure all parties were capable on making this a success.
First, I reached out to a PM expert to coach me through the process. Sophie was a tremendous help and guided me from start to finish. She was able to step in and support me when I needed it the most. Working with different segments of the company can be tricky to ensure everyone works together and is on the same page especially when there were a lot of people involved with this. We had to work with our systems department to ensure we can change the shipping location from the normal warehouse to the co-packer since it wasn’t set up already. We worked with demand planning to ensure they would be able to make the product in time for the order to be picked up and also worked with the billing department to confirm that the invoice would still be paid since the shipping location wouldn’t say our company’s name but the co-packers name. We met once a week for 5 months and within this time expressed the risks and challenges we could face. We made sure to iron everything out before the first shipment. This all had to be seamless to the customer. The day the order was being shipped, Sophie and I went to the warehouse to ensure there were no issues with the paperwork and meet with the logistics team at the co-packer. We took pictures along with videos to share with our team back at the office to show that we accomplished our goal.
At the end of the project, we shipped the freshest product and decreased shipping time along with saving the company over $60k per year. This project was a success and now use this project has a pathway to shipping other items from the co-packer.
Have you ever had an idea and saw it come to life at work?