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
Evolution of the Retail Fulfillment Operation
It’s an omni-channel world, and retail warehouse and DC operations must now seamlessly orchestrate a combination of software, automation, hardware and supporting equipment to meet ever-increasing customer expectations or be rendered irrelevant.
Download Today!
From the June 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
Self-driving mobile robots improve cycle times and reduce floor space at GE Healthcare’s new repair operations center in Wisconsin. General Electric operations center layout, General Electric Healthcare warehouse
GE Healthcare: Self-driving vehicles are the centerpiece of ROC
The Big Picture: Adaptability as King
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Warehouse Execution Systems (WES): The Pathway to Same-Day Fulfillment
This webinar explores the processes and technologies enabling same-day, same-hour order fulfillment using intelligent supply chain software.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
GE Healthcare System Report: Lean repairs
Self-driving mobile robots improve cycle times and reduce floor space at GE Healthcare’s new...
Materials Handling Innovation (and why it matters)
Every company considers itself an innovator. It’s time to include materials handling leaders in...

Thrive Market’s Startup Distribution Network
How does a fastgrowing, e-commerce startup company build out order fulfillment capabilities? Thrive...
U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0 released today
On Tuesday, the U.S. Roadmap for Material Handling & Logistics: Version 2.0 will be released on...