On a daily basis FPC comes into contact with companies that have challenges in the area of service logistics. Remarkably often comparable issues occur at these companies.
That is why we have decided to bundle the top 8. Have a look and see which ones you recognize!
1. “I leave it to my supplier”
One of the classics, remember that in 99% of cases your supplier doesn’t know how your service logistics works. He specializes in the production of the component and will therefore often send the product by truck (low risk). Any arbitrary box, sometimes with some padding, will often be sufficient for him. And would you proof him wrong?
2. Proliferation of packaging
If you don’t have a policy for packing, it will result in a proliferation of packaging.
We often hear “if we use a standard range of packaging, we transport more air”. In theory this is true, but in practice you see the opposite. A packer or supplier is not always looking for the box or packaging that fits the part perfectly. The box that is the closest to the packer, and which is certainly not too small, will be used. Mostly because the packer hasn’t really got the time to choose carefully. With the result that for one product five different kinds of packaging are hosen with a lot of empty space!
A common phenomenon in the entire chain is ‘re-packing’ because the packaging is damaged or contains too much shipping labels. It is not always easy to find an identical box, especially when it is a sensitive product with custom made interior. The interior must fit perfectly into the box so that it retains its protective effect!
3. Jungle of labeling – unprofessional appearance
The packaging is simply the first thing your customer or Field Service Engineer sees. If this looks slick and uniform every time, it will make a professional impression. But too often packers have no examples or instructions available of the labeling and carriers are not adequately informed. For this reason, there will be random labeling on the package, depending on the packer or shipper.
It occurs that an old label causes an incorrect delivery of the part or that it is even held in quarantine because one doesn’t know where it’s going to. That should be avoided, especially when your client is urgently waiting for this product.
4. Written packing instructions
Until 10 years ago, you probably worked with handwritten instructions with a single photo. But let’s be honest: who reads these instructions? At most a fanatical newcomer.
The development of the smartphone, tablet and computer make written instructions even less attractive. We are simply visually oriented. Pictures help a little bit, but the best instructions are still through videos or animations. Moreover, the techniques and internet speeds of today make the distribution easier.
5. Outdated packing instructions
Another well-known phenomenon is that engineers put a lot of effort in making work instructions for packing, from the ‘ISO 9001’-thought. When we want to evaluate one year later, they appear to be covered in dust (if we can find them at all) and they are often already outdated. After all, it often requires a complex organization to make such changes, including in the supply chain.
6. Rotating workers in packing department
Especially on packaging departments, companies often encourage rotating workers who are hired in heyday as a temporary employee. The new employees are expected to understand immediately how you pack, taking into account the fragility of the part. This task will be very difficult, if not impossible, when you do not instruct them unambiguously. This will take more time getting up to speed, but at the same time the operation should go on as smoothly as possible given the small margins in this area. We often see a split emerging here in which we find all too often that the packer is not sufficiently trained.
7. Big supply chain
“The bigger my supply chain, the more I have to repack.” In more than 90% of cases, this claim is true. We note that companies throw away a lot of packaging and sometimes create a lot of unnecessary handling. This is not in line with the ‘lean-proces’ thought. The biggest problem is the optimization per company, causing the opposite effect throughout the supply chain. Unfortunately there are very few companies with a good helicopter view on this topic that provide an accompanying policy.
8. Not taking return flows into account
Make your packaging one-way. This is no problem when you have relatively inexpensive parts and they actually go one-way. The trend is that we always want to know what was wrong with the part, or we have the obligation to dispose the part. Therefore it is often very convenient to use the same packaging for return transport. This return packaging is often just slightly, not much, stronger, but Engineers have reflected better on the reusability of the packaging.
How to improve?
As FPC beyond packaging we see these issues with great regularity in our business. Many companies think these problems are hard to avoid or resolve, but the opposite is true.
Given a fairly simple package policy, distributed through good communication within your company and to other links in your supply chain, a large part of these problems can be prevented relatively easily. Do you want to know how we do this, please contact us.
Bart van Dijck
Project Manager FPC