We all know times are tough, the cable industry is in a fight for survival against telecommunication providers, satellite services as well as other TV, internet, phone and WiMax providers. Lost in the battle for market share are the warehouses that supply the customer premise equipment (CPE) for customers. However, these business units can add significant dollars to the bottom line for cable operators after a Warehouse Management System (WMS) has been implemented. Monies saved can be used to further the sales and marketing push or reinvested back into operations. Many warehouse managers recognize they need help but are unsure how to proceed. This post will provide an outline to ascertain the cable WMS cable operation managers need. Subsequent posts will take a look at sections in greater detail.
The Basics of Persuasion
Warehouse managers should never assume their pleas for help will be overruled by the screaming and slick presentations of the sales and marketing department. Successful campaigns rely on preparation, persistence and presentation (PPP). The following steps will help warehouse managers prepare for battle.
- Prepare mentally by understanding it will be a battle. The passion you proceed with will only enhance how others perceive you professionally as well as define who you are. You are asking people for money, so leave nothing to chance in your preparation. If you are not up for the battle then move over and let new blood in. Cable operators need people willing to take risk for the benefit of the company.
- Identify all the things that need improvement in the warehouse. This may include a reduction on labor costs, CPE loss, wasted inventory days, space usage, the tons of paper flying around and even warehouse management (staff or procedures). List everything as this is the pain that is being addressed and will be part of your opening presentation as well as the closing arguments.
- Identify productivity measurements that are already in place. If measurements are not in place then create them by monitoring activity for a 4 week or more period of time. This is your workflow detail and it is the most important preparation you can do. Executives such as your CFO understand that a business is run by the numbers. Therefore, unless you can show how the WMS tool will lower costs to provide a positive return on their investment you will never succeed.
- Engage your staff. Ask the warehouse personnel for their feedback. Do not assume you know all the questions or answers. For example, ask the how they would improve operations or what issues they run across. Two things will happen with this. First, engagement of employees will obtain their buy-in. Without their buy-in, any new system will struggle for adoption or even fail. Second, you will discover an ally, a person who wants to make the company better and can do so with the right energy and attitude. It is an opportunity for someone to establish themselves as well as create a career path.
- Make a list of major gains. Use the information gathered above to prepare a list of major benefits for implementing a computerized system. Justification for these items will take place in one of the subsequent posts to this article.
- Do your homework. Executives do not want to hear your problems, they want to hear your solutions. Begin information collection on cable WMS specifically designed for cable. Seek out systems that can best meet your pain. Quality is more important than price at this stage. In later posts we will discuss how to review the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and how to reflect this in your recommendation/presentation.
The preceding steps are identified to help you create a plan of attack. They will also help you truly understand the workflow in your warehouse which is crucial to good cable warehouse management. Future post will examine Steps 2-6 in greater detail. Contact us at any time if you need assistance and make sure you don’t miss any posts by subscribing to the Mintek blog today.