In my last blog, I spoke about inbound processes that will set you up for success on the receiving end. Now let’s talk about the actual receiver’s job setup and how that can further your success.
The operating plan and tools provided to receivers will ultimately determine the success they are able to achieve during the work day. Receivers, who are usually employees with long standing tenure, can sometimes have their own ideas on how to perform a job, creating movements and tasks that are not productive.
The first thing to contemplate in an operating plan is whether you want a mobile workstation or a static workstation. Mobile workstations can be valuable to employees as it reduces the amount of travel back and forth by giving constant access to all of the tools for their job. This not only eliminates the receiver’s walks to and from the workstation, it also will diminish the fatigue of the receiver throughout the day. Utilizing supervisors to deliver paperwork to the mobile station provides additional advantages since it reduces travel to the office, reduces interruptions for the receiver, and allows the manager to observe the dock.
RF Unit vs. Computer? Radio frequency (RF) Units can make a large impact on the receiver’s daily success and mobility. Although it may seem easier to use the computer for daily data input such as load temperatures, manufacturing dates, LOT numbers, catch weights, and expiration dates, this actually requires more time to login and key numbers each time than it would take to gather the RF Unit to scan the label and press enter. The RF unit is also mobile, so it eliminates walking, again increasing the efficiency of the receiver.
Food service distribution centers have strict regulations on preserving the cold chain and recording temperatures for documentation purposes. Temperature checks on cold and freezer loads can create additional walking and redundant motions that can be performed by other non-employee dock workers, allowing receivers to focus on receiving goods. The non-employees, such as a “lumping service” – associates who break down pallets to accurate dimensions – are great candidates for this job as they are already performing work inside the load. Without difficulty, lumpers can deliver the results to the receiver for input into the RF unit. Many distribution centers have switched to electronic temperature recorders that can be plugged into a computer and digitally display the temperature for the entire life of the load. Along with this new technology, if there are electronic temperature control boxes that are hidden in the loads, they must be taken to the office and processed at a computer. This can create excess time searching, retrieving, and walking for the receiver. The search time for these items can be several minutes. Instead, consider having supervisors or other indirect employee conduct the search to keep the receivers on task.
Understanding the needs and functions of receivers allows for more efficient processes. By creating mobile workstations, using RF Units, and alleviating the checking of temperatures provides the receiver with optimal conditions for a more productive day. The whole supply chain process relies heavily on receivers completing their jobs quickly and efficiently to get product into the warehouse. By utilizing various indirect employees on the dock, the operations as a whole will benefit.