The Parts Town warehouse team has come up with an interesting perspective on “supply chain.” Usually, people think of supply chain as a component of a larger business; just something that companies deal with, but that customers don’t see. We actually think customers are part of the chain. The supply chain extends from the birth of a part to its final installation as a productive element in a restaurant kitchen. Every link of that chain matters, as every link is a handoff between people or businesses that can impact quality.
In general terms, the links in our supply chain can be described as follows: Manufacturer, Carrier, Receiver, Putaway, Picker, Packer, Shipper, Carrier, Customer. The links that concern us most are the ones we have direct control of: Receiver, Putaway, Picker, Packer, Shipper. These are the five roles within our warehouse: five different people in the warehouse who handle every OEM part.
It is important that when problems arise, the problems are caught before they make their way through the supply chain. So, the Parts Town warehouse team is encouraged to flag problems arising from the previous link(s) in the chain and bring those problems to management. Management reviews these problems and works to fix the root cause. We also recognize the employees with the most catches at the end of each month. Because of everyone’s heightened awareness, the warehouse had over 150 catches in March! Catches support the Parts Town core value of integrity: the integrity of our company is on the line every time we fulfill a customer order. We take seriously every problem that arises, because if we don’t catch the problems, the customer will.
Do we catch every problem? No. But we’re getting there. We will learn and improve with each error until we don’t make any more errors. Our Sales team is also helping greatly by having detailed conversations with customers about warehouse mistakes (poor packs, labeling, quantity, missing parts, wrong parts, etc.) and even collecting photos when possible. The daily pursuit of perfection is a humbling process, but we are committed to learning and growing every day, and everyone in the supply chain plays an important role.