Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Pallet Jack Pen Pouch

Problem: getting all the way to the loading dock and neither you, nor the delivery/pickup driver, is holding a pen to sign the paperwork for the shipment you're receiving or shipping.

5-minute fix: duct tape folded into a pouch on the jack itself. Now a pen and a Sharpie both live on the pallet jack!

What annoying thing can you fix in five minutes?

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Last One Tags

How do you avoid running out of items? Especially lower cost, consumable items like shipping boxes?

1. Order three year's worth of these at a time. Find a place to store them, then realize a few month's in that they aren't really the right size for what you need.
2. Track inventory meticulously. Do a physical count daily, or require employees to scan them in and out so you can view the count from your computer at any moment.
3. Create a reasonable warning system so you know before you run out with enough time to avoid disrupting regular operations.

Here's one way to implement #3: print out a bunch of labels  like the ones in the photo. We print the words "Don't Use Without Reordering - No Usar Sin Reordenar" on the label. The item to be reordered can be written down as well, so you can remove the label when you get to it and use that as your reminder to order the items.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

What's #1?

The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is a massive hotel. 43 kitchens, 450 chefs, serving tens of thousands of meals a day. Chef Christie, who oversees the food operations, has a lot of individual processes, materials, and people to consider. There are a mind-boggling number of things happening at any time, including ordering, receiving ingredents, storage, prep, and serving.

So, with all that to oversee, what is the first thing he looks for to see whether things are running smoothly? How clean the kitchens are.

"I'm looking at general cleanliness, first thing. I'm looking at the floors...if it's total chaos or if things are really under control."

A good reminder that following the Shine step in 5S is both style and substance.

The full episode can be viewed on Netflix in the Mega Food series, or on Youtube here:

Monday, September 9, 2019

Go/No-Go Gauge for Cave Tours

You don't want to get halfway into a tour for a cave and then find out the passageways are too small for your comfort. This entrance (at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO) puts a cutout of the smallest passageway right at the entrance to the line for the tour. If you, your stroller, or your family members can't make it through this cutout, the tour is not for you. 

This type of gauge is useful in both manufacturing and in real life!

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Pallets 101: Pallet vs Parcel

Parcel to Pallet - should you ship boxes individually or together?

A "parcel" is a general term for an item that can be picked up by hand. This might be a box, bag, or other container. Parcels are shipped using a parcel carrier like the United States Postal Service (USPS) or the United Parcel Service (UPS). 

A "pallet", also known as a skid, is a flat item used to secure and transport larger items or multiple parcels. Pallets are shipped using a truck, also sometimes called a freight carrier. If you're shipping one or more pallets, you might use an LTL ("Less Than Truckload") service provider to pick up the items and deliver to your destination. 

If you are regularly shipping many parcels to the same location, using pallets might make more sense. 

Some great things about shipping pallets: cheaper per-unit cost than shipping multiple boxes, the individual items are handled less and stay upright, minimizing damage compared to parcel services

You might not be ready for pallets if: you don't have infrastructure to handle pallets (such as a loading dock, forklift, etc) or if your customer does not have the ability to receive pallet shipments due to size or handling contraints.