How often have we heard the view that there will always be product damage in the supply chain and that a base level of damage is to be expected? But should this be the case? At Davies &Robson, we don’t think so. Damage not only adds cost in terms of product replacement but also impacts on customer service and satisfaction.
Having the highest standards of product protection designed into the supply chain is something our clients increasingly demand. One such client recently invited us to conduct a full audit and review of all aspects of the operation that could impact upon product damage and, ultimately, customer satisfaction.
The client manufactures and sells a full range of fragile household fixtures and fittings, including glass-based products manufactured at their UK production facility. Product is carefully packed at the end of the production line using a packaging design that carefully supports the product within a heavy-duty cardboard outer. The packed product then passes through their warehouse facility before being delivered to customers throughout the UK using a third-party network operator.
Davies & Robson conducted a full review of every aspect of the packaging and the impact of physical movement through the supply chain, to identify any actual or potential handling methods and practices that may impact upon perceived or actual product damage at the customer delivery point. Commencing with the mapping of all the ‘touch points’, observations included all warehouse activities, vehicle loading and unloading, transit, load restraint and delivery procedures involving the customer.
The review identified a number of areas for improvement including packaging design, pallet design, storage and picking methods. Many of these have already been implemented as changes to operating procedures, while others will form part of the ongoing packaging design improvement process.
Our client’s Logistics Director told us: “This project has enabled us to further enhance customer service by driving down the incidences of damage and all of the associated product and service costs. Packaging and the product presentation to the customer is a critical element of our overall service offer. Davies & Robson were able to analyse our logistics activities and bring industry expertise to enable us and our partners to improve performance across the supply chain.”