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How to Manage your Warehouse Remotely | Warehouse OS Series Ep 07

Learn how Tyler Anderson, Director of Warehouse Operations at ShipHero SLC, manages his team remotely to ensure efficient warehouse operations.

In this video, Tyler talks about the recent changes in queue management, which consolidates orders into two statuses for better organization. He also shares useful tips on how to solve held orders and optimize inventory management for maximum efficiency. Plus, find out what metrics Tyler suggests tracking with ShipHero’s Hero Board!

Get all the insights you need to stay ahead in the game with Tyler’s advice. Watch now!

Video Transcript
Currently we're working on any of the new features that roll out with ShipHero to make sure that they tie into our current processes and how we can effectively use them on the floor. We document that, sign off on it, and then roll it out to the facilities for training. I'm here today with Tyler, leading member of our remote ops team. Before working on our remote ops team, Tyler helped run this facility where we are today in Salt Lake City, Utah. So first of all, thank you. No problem. So we have a bit of a unique setup in that we have nine buildings and we manage a lot of what happens in those buildings remotely, which is what your team does. So talk us through what is remote ops and... Well, first of all, why do we do it remotely instead of having the buildings manage it all themselves? So overall, the remote ops team is the ones that log in, we manage the queue, manage any orders that are on hold or possibly have an address issue, anything along those lines, to basically have the warehouse focus on getting the orders shipped out and clearing that queue every single day. We shouldn't have any members on the floor going, logging in, searching for one product, one SKU, one item or one order, wasting hours and hours a week just searching for one order. So the idea is basically it's easier to find and solve those problems sitting in front of your computer, and we want our warehouse managers on the floor, so we keep them on the floor, and then we have the remote ops team work remotely from their home computer basically. Yeah, absolutely. Or in in the warehouse in the office. And that's the biggest part about ShipHero being spread so across all nine facilities is we can login remotely, find out the issues, dig in from anywhere in the country basically. Right. Okay. So we're doing something a bit different called queue management. So the way most people use ShipHero is they put orders in different statuses and then they have their pickers log into those different statuses throughout the day and deplete those orders. We recently made a change which we call queue management. So walk us through first of all why, and then how does it actually work? Yeah, so we switched to running the queue management remotely to avoid pickers scrolling through dozens of statuses, changing, for one or two orders getting in one status when there's 20 in another. Essentially what we're doing here is combining everything into the one status and running it by picking tags. So we'll add tags to a certain group of orders- Let's go back. So the one status is today, right? Yes. It's today and tomorrow. Today and tomorrow status. That's what we're running. So if I'm the GM of this building, I have X number of orders in today. I got to ship 100% of those orders. Every one of them has got to go out, and I don't have to ship anything else. Right? Absolutely. And that is the point of the queue management being done remote is the remote ops team can log in and say, "This is how many orders you have for today. Move them into those statuses." So the management team on the floor in the warehouse doesn't have to worry about looking through those queues and handling it that way. And then once that queue in the today status hits zero, you're done for the day. So I think one of the advantages or one of the problems we would have before is orders would continue to come in throughout the day, and sometimes we would end up picking those orders, and there might be a lingering order from the prior day that just gets missed in the shuffle, and we didn't want that to happen. Yeah, exactly. Or you have one specific client that does decent amount of volume over everything else, and it will just bury the ones and twos orders that we have in the system. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that's another issue we had, which is a client exceeding forecast dramatically, right? Absolutely. 3-4X forecast. And then they're getting the same priority as another customer who's on forecast, and then that customer on forecast might miss SLA, when really we should be hitting our forecast numbers for everyone, maybe plus 30% forecast, but basically that, and then save those excess orders for tomorrow for that client that's over forecast. So yeah, I'm excited about that change. So what are the typical problems that you're solving in the remote team? So a lot of it is held orders. An order comes into the system and is a back order or just needs to be pushed to a specific facility to ship out. It's finding those issues before it stops production on the floor. Through the queue management side of it, it's ensuring that each facility has work consistently throughout the day, so there's no downtime, and also planning out larger projects like tearing down the racking like we're doing in Salt Lake now, and rebuilding some more pick bins and forecasting out sales volumes over the peak season for our larger clients. Right, so you're actually talking maybe with the CSMs or the account managers, but you're talking to those clients, getting numbers, getting plans, and then putting internal plans, right? Absolutely. Okay. And you guys also work a bit on our SOPs and process and documenting and making sure we're uniform across buildings, right? We do, yep. Currently we're working on any of the new features that roll out with ShipHero to make sure that they tie into our current processes and how we can effectively use them on the floor. We document that, sign off on it and then roll it out to the facilities for training. What have you learned as we've developed this team over the last year that you didn't know when we started? A lot, actually. There's a lot more to logistics and fulfillment than just putting something in a box and putting a label on it. Negotiations with carriers, what you can negotiate, how to negotiate prices on those. That was a huge, huge push when I started with Randall with Golden Egg. And then a lot of how different seasons affect different clients, even if it's the same product, or two clients have the exact same product, how their sales can drastically differ even during the same season. So that was a eyeopener for me as well. Okay. Let's look at reporting. I know you're a big fan of the Hero Board. Yeah, love the Hero Board. Explain to me how you used to work without the Hero Board before that was created and how you use it today. Yeah. So before we had the Hero Board, I would actually just run a shipments report through Excel and have a bunch of macros set up of which picker and packer did how many orders, how many lines, how many units. It was very manual data across the board. Now, with the live shipping board, it's a couple of clicks and you can find out how many per hour each person's doing, how many line items, and then you can take that data and check it against how many units per order. If a person's only doing 12 orders an hour, but they're doing a thousand items, you can definitely weigh those out quite a bit to say, "Oh yeah, this is how many we should be at." Okay. And when you bring on a new associate or a temp, what's the unit picks per hour, the UPH that you want to see at a minimum, that you're like, "Hey, I'm going to keep investing in this associate," versus, "I'm just going to tell the agency not to send them back"? Absolutely. So the first two days we try to hit around 75% of our actual goal, to say that yeah, this person's good enough to keep on. The picking system in ShipHero is very easy to learn and understand. You can pick it up pretty quick. The layout of the facility is pretty much the only thing you need to really pay attention to on that. On the pack-out side, we try to hit around 75%, so about 35 to 40 orders an hour is where we want them to be at the first couple of days. Yeah, 'cause we target 50 right? Yeah. For a season. Then what's your consistent best packer? What number are they hitting? This last week I believe we were at 75 orders now for our best packers. Okay, that's good. And what makes someone a good packer? Consistency, actually. Just keeping that flow going, the consistent work. You'll hit those numbers pretty... The consistent flow of the packer, they'll definitely hit those numbers pretty efficiently. What's your favorite feature in ShipHero? My favorite feature? It's got to be bulk ship, actually. All right. You guys do a lot of bulk here. We do a lot of bulk ship here, so the fact that we can... It automatically lumps everything together that's similar SKUs, similar carriers. Everything can be shipped all at one time. And now we have the QR code scanning for the picking side, so you don't lose any quality on your picking side for the bulk ships. Right. So that's use the QR code for the puller, right? Yep. And then when you're talking about grouping it by carrier, I think right now we print them in order so it's like, let's say, all the FedEx and then all the UPS, so that you don't have to second sort, which is a lot of extra labor. Yeah, that was a huge help for us. When we first started out with Golden Egg, it was... We'd just print off... Here's all of our USPS. Print them all off on one batch, pack them out, all goes in the same gaylord and goes straight on the truck. Yeah, yeah, 'cause the sorting could be half the work in a quick bulk. Do we use Auto Baggers here at all? We previously had one. I believe we sent ours to Pennsylvania. They have a lot more smaller items than we had. All right. All right, and now we have none. You guys are still hitting your numbers, so- Yeah, we're still cranking it out. It's been good. What's the reporting that you do that is maybe not obvious to a new user of ShipHero? So honestly, a lot of what I do is tracking our cost per package internally as well. And ShipHero has all of that data that you need for your label costs for every shipment that we have. Now with the WorkforceHero, you have your labor data, you have your hours on each project, each side, picking, packing. You can download all of that and run all of your data to say, "This is where we're actually at across the board. Are we in a good spot or not?" If you were talking to someone who was brought in, just like you were, to manage a facility that has some customers but work on process, where would you tell them to start? Definitely process is the number one thing. Make sure you have a solid base foundation before you start building up on that. The next side of it, I would say, is your inventory and your inventory velocities. So accurate inventory is a huge, huge thing in this industry. If you're missing 100 units of something, that's 100 sales that don't go out the door, so making sure your receiving is on point, your inventory is on point and then you're running your shipment data to slot properly in your warehouse by velocity. So you want your fastest movers as close as you can to your pack stations, slower movers towards the back a little bit more. And is that just export, like the shipments report? Or how are you knowing what are my fast movers? So it's based on the shipments report. It's actually shipping in the system, as well as the clients also send that over to us as well, some of them. Right. So if we have a forecast, we know there's a big drop, maybe we put that in our little highway pallets on the floor, and if we see something that, hey, this is consistently selling, we're selling ski goggles because we're in Utah and it's November, we put that in the front, not aisle 13. Exactly. So you're minimizing that walk for your pickers from the back of the warehouse to the front. And then as well as in ShipHero you can set up your replenishment levels as well per SKU, and then it will ping our inventory team to say, "We need more of unit X forward up in this location as it's moving," so production doesn't stop because you're just out of inventory in a pickable bin. And if people don't realize the value of slotting, I think the report is 30% of all time is just spent walking. And by slotting more correctly, you're reducing that from 30%, or it could be worse than 30% if it's a poorly slotted warehouse, down to a 25%. And it's just wasted labor. There's no value for walking further for the same product, right? Exactly. So it's a great way to squeeze more efficiency without squeezing your employees. They actually like it better if... They'd rather be picking in the same amount of time than walking. Absolutely. All right. Any final tips for a new user of ShipHero? Learn the system as much as you can. It's a very robust system, has a lot of features, so dig in as much as you can and learn everything you can about it. All right, Thank you. Any time. Appreciate it.
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