Managing value-added processing in your operation

Value-added processing (VAP) is perhaps the toughest area to manage in most warehouses.

By ·

Value-added processing (VAP) is perhaps the toughest area to manage in most warehouses.  Here we are talking about non-mainstream special packaging, compliance labeling, “rainbow” pallet building and other activities that are customer or promotional campaign-driven. 

With the exception of labeling to comply with customer bar code or RFID mandates, value-added activities tend to be cyclical with wide swings in volume that, at the high end, often require the hiring of temporary workers. (On bar coding and RFID, go with the global standards and apply the labels or tags as far back in your operations as possible to facilitate internal processing and tighten process integrity.)

On other VAP, let’s look at the example of a consumer products company running a promotion on coffee pots that requires opening the original package, inserting a bag of filters, a coffee sample and a discount coupon, and, then, resealing and re-labeling the package.  How can the company efficiently and accurately ship 80,000 cartons on 1000 pallets within a week without disrupting regular operations, particularly if the task requires twenty or thirty temps who have never seen a warehouse before?  Will a solid layout, processes, data capture technology and a warehouse management system (WMS) help here?  The answer is “maybe”.  “Maybe” that is, if they are engineered and integrated to provide a framework that supports the disciplined flow of materials into and out of the VAP area and eliminates temporary worker multi-tasking – much like a straight line or “bucket brigade” light assembly operation. 

Further, your permanent workforce should be cross-trained on value-added activities.  Assign one or more of them plus a supervisor to the VAP line – and, hold them accountable for performance.  If you have a WMS, use it to record and reconcile component deliveries with finished pallet output as well as line performance measurement.  If not, use a member of your permanent workforce to do the accounting.  In the latter case, you will probably want to QC output with random sampling up to 100% checking, depending upon item value,


Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Your Guide to Voice for the Warehouse
Is voice a good fit for my operation? How would voice work in my warehouse? With the help of the Vitech Guide to Voice, you can find all the answers to your voice questions in one place.
Download Today!
From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
Injecting agility into WMS implementation
The Big Picture: Business as Unusual
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...
Manufacturing Day: 2,716 events from Hawaii to Alaska to Puerto Rico
Events to be scheduled throughout the month, so the remaining 249,185 manufacturing firms in the...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.