Gut feel based planning – A sure-shot way to oblivion

March 30, 2021by Adam Matthews0

Robert was a veteran in Crazy Foods, a fast growing mid-sized F&B company. He had seen the company grow from a 7 people startup to a 1600 people company with operations spread all over the country.

Robert was the logistics head. He loved his job. He was a ‘roll up the sleeves and let’s get to work’ type of guy. He was instrumental in ensuring that the logistics operations don’t crumble under the meteoric growth of the company. With time, he had built a team, but when it came to being hands on, he was everywhere on the floor, taking split second decisions, barking orders and just making things happen.

One of the KPIs that he was proud of was to keep very high capacity utilization of the vehicles. Even-though, the indent required say 70% of the vehicle capacity, the standard instructions for his guys were to stuff the vehicle with fast moving SKUs. So, in every vehicle, some or the other fast moving SKUs were sent. This kept his prized KPI high but resulted in choking the warehouses. There was constant pressure on the warehousing team to keep adding capacities. Because of space constraints in the warehouses, detention of trucks became common occurrences.

Robert thought of bouncing this problem off his son Jim. Jim was a senior consultant in a venerated boutique supply chain consulting company. Jim introduced him to the concept of ‘Forward Looking Truck Load Building’ where after filling the truck with the present indent, the projected inventory is calculated at the destination for each SKU for the next day. Any SKU that goes short is pulled-in for the shortage quantity and the remaining space is again calculated. This cycle is repeated for the future horizon, till the truck is full.

Jim also explained that, this way SKUs that are required either today or in the future are only sent and hence over a period of time, the warehouses will get de-cluttered. He also suggested that this type of complex calculations should not be attempted in spreadsheets and he introduced him to an economical but feature rich cloud solution that does dispatch optimization along with FLTLB.

Robert was ecstatic. This is exactly what he needed. He was nearing retirement and wanted to leave his legacy by optimizing and streamlining the operations.

Three months later…

It was a Friday evening on the last week of the month. He was sipping coffee with Will, the head of warehousing operations. Both of them remembered the harrowing time they and their staff had during the last two weeks of every month, as the company used to see more than 70% of its monthly off-take during those two weeks. To top that, the weekends used to be brutal with expedited shipping requests flying all over.

After implementing the solution, they both realized that the operations have been streamlined drastically, warehouses have started to de-clutter and the number of expedited shipment requests have decreased considerably. They were also happy to hear from the finance team that the total logistics costs for the last two months were 8% lower compared to the budget.

Robert was a happy man now. He could go dancing and singing into his retirement knowing very well that the things that he had so painstakingly built are in good shape

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