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Shipping and Receiving Operation is Overhauled with No Service Interruptions

Challenge

With their onsite lease due to expire, a large non-profit medical research organization was forced to move its primary shipping and receiving operation to an off-site location; unfortunately, such an endeavor would not only require an extensive investment in new lease expenses, but cost the company for the labor, equipment, and transportation needed to ensure consistent service levels for their research labs.

The risks and expenses appeared to be too high given the complexity of the organization’s current delivery process, the heavy and unpredictable traffic patterns of the region, and an inflated real estate market. Faced with certain change and limited time, what was the most viable path for the company to make major shipping and receiving changes without disrupting their overall operation?

Solution

A VWRCATALYST Lean Six Sigma Process Consultant completed an assessment to study the supply chain holistically, dissecting and analyzing key data elements. The data from the assessment was then distilled into concise, informative diagrams such a lean value stream map, process flow, and activity-based costing and modeling.

With the clearer view of the supply chain provided by this data, a comprehensive solution was developed and reviewed thoroughly with the organization’s procurement, logistics, legal, EH&S, and other teams. A new off-site shipping and receiving operation meant new transportation and regulatory requirements, supplier and carrier route assignments, and a long list of logistics, budgetary, and safety concerns. Many regulated substances needed to be handled, tracked, and delivered safely and in compliance with local, state, and federal laws.

Figure 1. Despite a significant increase in total parcel miles, median delivery time was cut in half without sacrificing total parcel volume or increasing costs.

Result

VWRCATALYST was able to relocate the organization’s shipping and receiving operation with zero downtime or delay and within the proposed budget. Despite an increase in the total parcel miles, the median delivery time has been cut in half, and service level cycle times have dropped from four to two hours.

VWRCATALYST helped the organization turn its challenges into opportunities by:

  • Leasing a spacious facility three miles from the site, and obtaining the necessary permits and regulatory clearances
  • Partnering with a major common carrier to provide trucks and trained drivers
  • Introducing smart delivery routes and additional runs to increase service levels
  • Implementing a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to support electronic receiving and integrate supply chain information across the organization
  • Introducing real-time communication and developing a reporting system to track performance and report metrics
  • Recommending and implementing immediate safety enhancements
  • Employing current staff and temporary support to help with the transition, and providing additional training to enhance the skills of the team
  • Repurposing existing material handling equipment, computers, and furniture
  • Introducing real-time communication and developing a reporting system to track performance and report metrics


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Success Story

Challenge

The logistics of relocating shipping operations to a new site presented high costs and high risks for a non-profit medical research organization.

Solution

Relocation is turned into an opportunity to improve logistics and supply chain operations.

Result

Median delivery times have been reduced by 50% over two years with zero downtime.

Need Help?

Are your scientific resources being wasted on non-research activities? VWRCATALYST has the skills, knowledge, and experience to support productivity improvement at your organization. For more information, visit vwr.com/vwrcatalyst or contact us at vwrcatalyst.eu@vwr.com.