T Nation

Advice for Making Improvements At Work?

Hey guys, I’m kind of just brainstorming ideas for work to make my life easier (as well as my coworkers) regarding organizing deliveries.

The gist of it:

Were a large scale landscape supply distributor. We operate (when fully staffed) at around 7-8 people.

Store Manager
2 Department Managers
2 Customer Sales & Service
2-3 Drivers (usually 2)
1 Fulltime warehouse employee (this literally is never filled and might as well not exist)

Roughly 60-70% of our profit comes from deliveries.

Unfortunately, the market demands very little lead time. It’s a daily occurence multiple times a day for a customer to request a full scale irrigation job the day of, and usually needs it within a few hours. We do our best to train the customers into giving us more time, but it’s simply not possible due to the nature of our contractors.

Which after 6, 7, 10, 12 deliveries, devolves into a sloppy panicky aggravating mess on a daily basis.

So I guess what I’m looking for, is anyone with delivery and logistics experience, has there been any tried and true formatted schedule that made your life easier? Or even a rough outline of what’s worth planning and what isnt. I love excel and I’m pretty well versed; but im notorious for over designing and making it borderline unusable by the time I’m finished.

In a perfect world when were fully staffed, I would imagine we would have something like the following:

1 dedicated In-Town driver, with designated time slots.

1 dedicated Long distance South driver, with designated time slots

1 driver on demand for rushed orders

Any thoughts, or more information you would like to help?

Easy. Implement SAP and then hire a small army of consultants to model your wacky business and build a heavily customized solution to manage your business.

What, you don’t have a few tens of millions in capital set aside?

I’d start with a reality-based process map of your as-is order to cash process. Warts and all. Understanding exactly how things work today is always the start of a better process tomorrow.

Assuming your goal is same-day order fulfillment, you need to identify every bottleneck that prevents that outcome and figure out how to eliminate it. Inventory, personnel and process bottlenecks along with other impediments to a successful business outcome must be understood.

Otherwise you’re talking old-fashioned expectation and relationship management with both your customers and suppliers.

Kinda vague, I know, but the devil is always in the details when it comes to business process improvement.

1 Like

I’ve been kinda hesitant to respond because although I’m really good at streamlining a production process, I have to be in it for about 6 mos. to suss out any problems and come up with a solution.

Also, a lot of problems exist in perpetuity because you’re basically telling an owner/manager that they have been doing it wrong.

Unless you can prove profitability of changes the chances of a proposed solution actually being implemented are somewhere between “nill” and “fire that motherfucker”. :joy: