The inventory dance
In dancing, the perfect choreography consists of pairs of dancers swinging in beautiful circling harmony. Each pair complements each other, highlighting strengths of the individual yet seemingly united. The dance is captivating, flowing cleanly and smoothly across the floor. The patters are uniform yet creative. Everything seems perfectly planned but wildly impulsive.
I’m in Milwaukee working at a warehouse facility this week in response to wanting more experience with the operations side of business from Professor John Leschke’s Business 360 (Principles of Production-Operations Management) class. Controlling inventory is of top priority here. Not only is good inventory control cost effective, but it also provides a safe environment for workers, creates ease for logistic and operation departments, and allows for organized standard operating procedures. To me, it seems to be a dance.
Each product does best in certain conditions, such as where it’s located, what it’s next to, etc. Pair it up with similar products, complementary products, or locations that are relevant to each other, and you’re finding perfect ‘dancing partners.’ As corporate conditions move and change, the layout of the warehouse changes alongside it. Picking products becomes a uniform, yet creative way to access things quickly and efficiently. Placement of equipment or layout of aisles is carefully planned yet seemingly natural.
What I observed being in a facility, having a tour on the floor as well as peeking out from my second-level office, is how efficient the system can work when everything flows cleanly together. When products are placed next to their ‘partners,’ when employees are educated on the layout of the floor (the choreography), and when products are cleanly picked packaged and sent off to customers. The dance is beautiful, and when perfected, can reap great corporate reward.
Courtney Cerniglia is a junior at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point majoring in business administration and Spanish.
*Photo credit to http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-19AI2rSH8Oc/UMES66kyljI/AAAAAAAAQps/JZgLUp5Yr78/s1600/White+Christmas+++Vera+Ellen+++Danny+Kaye+++Dancing+2.jpg