A better supply chain serves us all. Let's eat.

3 Simple Ways to Improve Your Supply Chain in 2018

Posted by IFCO Systems
December 15, 2017

How can you instill positive change in your supply chain in 2018 without blowing the budget on new technologies? Here are some simple ways to give your supply chain a boost next year.

 

Take a Fresh Look at Racking Safety 

The fresh produce supply chain is designed to optimize the handling, transportation and storage of palletized product - the unit load. Efforts to improve the efficiency of unit load operations at any point in the supply chain can be counted upon to generate positive results.

 When it comes to unit load storage, steel storage racks are the critical element. Racks are found in packing sheds, processing plants, distribution centers, and the storage area of retail locations. If the racks are not correctly installed, maintained, and repaired, there is a risk of catastrophic failure, which could result in injury or death to workers. 

Watch for storage racks to come under closer scrutiny. Effective January 1, 2018, WorkSafeBC is introducing new regulations to better ensure the safety of their workers around storage racks. They cover rack systems over 8 feet in height or rack systems under 8 feet if loads are handled by a forklift. While worker safety has long been protected by OSHA's General Duty Clause or General Conditions requirements of other safety legislation, the new detailed requirements in WorkSafeBC are anticipated to influence other jurisdictions in paying closer attention to racking systems. 

“The spirit of the new racking regulations in BC are already entrenched in all North American jurisdictions,” cautions Dan Beer of RackSafe Inspection and Compliance Training. “Every company has a duty to keep workers safe.” 

Operators of rack systems must ensure that they are regularly inspected by a qualified person who documents any concerns and that any noted deficiencies are addressed. Compliance isn't always easy when juggling competing priorities and staff availability--it involves a mind shift. Inspection is not just a process that should be done when you can, it is one that is imperative to perform on a regular basis.

 

Don’t Give Staff Scheduling a Short Shift 

Recent research by Rotageek found that for 22% of retailers, staff scheduling was their most significant single frustration. The study found that 65% of respondents believed that having the right people with the right skill sets at the right time is a significant challenge. Almost half of participants (49%) told Rotageek their employees were unhappy with assigned shifts while 41% said their workers had to miss important appointments or personal commitments because they were unable to switch shifts.  

Staff scheduling, while often a headache, sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Managers too often slot their staff scheduling requirement into the “important but not urgent” category which results in schedule creation taking a back seat to other urgent but not necessarily important matters that invariably pop up. Giving scheduling the time it deserves, while establishing open communications with employees and a culture of trust can go a long way toward more productive schedules and a happier, more engaged staff.

 

Bring Your Company Vision and Values to the Front Line 

A unifying company vision and guiding values can be a fundamental differentiator for organizations, helping align the actions and aspirations of employees toward the company's "true north." Unfortunately, team members too often don't seem to be getting the message.  One 2015 report found that 60% of employees didn't know their company's vision. Similarly, a 2016 Gallup study reported that only 40% of millennials felt firmly connected to their employer's mission.   

 According to recent research, high purpose organizations experience superior performance if management has a clear view of where the firm is going, and it articulates that message to employees. Middle managers and professional workers were determined to be critical in communicating the company's purpose to front-line employees.

This coming year, take the time to touch base with employees about your company's vision and explore how their role is crucial in supporting the company's overall aspirations. It might be the most important thing you do all year.