November 15, 2010

Distribution Centre Operations Start-up: 1

Filed under: supplyline — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 11:31 pm

Starting up a distribution centre operation is always a challenge, always exciting, having done a few of them in both new and existing buildings I can tell you there’s nothing like experience to get you through those start-up challenges and successfully through your operating ramp-up.

Managing your start-up using project methodology and rigour is time-consuming and can at times be tedious, but it’s a good investment.

To get going, appoint a project manager, form the start-up team and establish a steering committee. The project manager and the team should agree a project charter with your executives and once this is done the team can write a detailed project plan using the charter and their own expertise to guide them. Expect your project manager to establish regular meetings to update and get feedback from the team, the steering committee and other stakeholders.

Recognise that communications and change management must be high on the team’s agenda. These aren’t exclusively for the team to look after though, everyone I’ve already mentioned should play their role.

As the project unwinds there will be a number of distinct project areas for your team to manage and deliver, these will include: distribution centre and site design; fitting out and equipping the operation; financial processes; operations including transportation; human resources; systems and information technology; loss prevention and security.

Decent planning and project management will give you a foundation for success. However, the key to a great start-up is in executing well, taking care of your customer and delivering on time and under budget.

I’ll visit the start-up process again and give you more detail on the things I’ve outlined above, if you need help before I’m able to get to the next article feel free to contact me.

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