Bridgewater Logistics’ new warehouse in Cape Town has adopted the same winning principles that have been applied at its other operations, including those best practices at the flagship facility in Pomona, Gauteng.
“The cornerstone of any efficient operation is effective management. This is a continuous process that ensures that we remain vigilant and never slip, especially during busy periods. Should we detect issues, they are prioritised and immediate remedial action implemented,” Quinton de Villiers of Bridgewater Logistics, says.
First and foremost, immense focus has been placed on skills development, considering that people are the most important asset of any business. This is especially true in the demanding third-party logistics environment, where specialist skills and capabilities are harnessed to significantly improve supply-chain performance.
By also providing significant scope for individual growth in the warehousing operation, the company has ensured a low turnover rate and built a dedicated and strong team over time.
A safe and healthy working environment has also been ensured through protocol that concentrates on the behaviour of employees, who are in a habit of looking for any hidden and obvious hazards.
In addition, all of Bridgewater Logistics’ employees are in the habit of reporting accidents and near misses, which are then analysed and solutions devised and implemented to mitigate and even eliminate them.
“Warehouses will always be potentially dangerous working environments. Health and safety is, therefore, paramount, considering that they can easily be overlooked, especially in busy periods, or when there have not been any accidents. On-going communication eliminates complacency and employees being lulled into a false sense of safety,” De Villiers says.
No detail has been spared at the company’s warehouses, with planning starting with basic “housekeeping”, as is evident by the clean loading docks and aisles at Bridgewater Logistics’ warehouses.
Cleaning and tidying is undertaken at the end of each shift in time for work to commence on the next without any delay.
The most optimal picking paths are also planned to ensure quick picking rates, which positively influence supply-chain cycle times and reduce unnecessary labour costs.
At the same time, due attention is given to goods-in processes, which can inadvertently be neglected when the operation is under pressure to get customer orders dispatched on time.
It is a specialised area of the entire operation, and Bridgewater Logistics has, therefore, ensured that other select members of staff have also been trained in these critical procedures and are on standby to avoid any interruptions.
He says optimal efficiency levels can only be maintained through on-going measurement. Two important measurable performances include truck time at the unloading dock and time from receiving to “putaway”.
Analysed in combination, these metrics allow the Bridgewater Logistics team to devise the most optimal ways in which to receive processes and reduce the time taken to move inventory out of limbo.
This new state-of-the-art operation commenced operations earlier this year and has significantly strengthened Bridgewater Logistics’ national warehousing footprint as part of its leading transport and logistics offering.