In a rapid-fire session, five panelists delivered their best ideas to improve warehouse operations. The panelists were Michael Fernstrom of PETCO Animal Supplies, Jill Kauffman Johnson of Chemical Strategies Partnership, Norman Saenz Jr. of TranSystems, Kevin Tedford of TGW, and Trish Kuerschner of SAP. Michael Wohlwend of SAP moderated the panel.
The ideas were broken down into four categories, with each member giving three ideas for each. The categories were equipment, people, systems, and green ideas. Among equipment ideas were designing a preventative maintenance program to ward off failures, quick-charging systems for lift truck batteries, stacker cranes for building rainbow pallets, and using shelving and wire decks instead of pallet racking to improve density.
Green ideas included placing solar panels on rooftops, planting grass on roofs, cooling the building at night to take advantage of non-peak rate periods, alternative vehicle fuels, reusing rainwater for toilets and irrigation, and installing energy-efficient lighting systems.
People ideas encompassed recognizing achievement, involving workers in the design of their operational areas, cross-training workers, and having workers participate in volunteer days in their communities.
Finally, the system ideas shared included adopting labor management software, integrating slotting software, exploring picking technologies such as pick-to-light and voice, tapping unused functionality that may already be available in a company's existing software systems, and using more of the data that a system currently provides.