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METHODOLOGY - Engineering & Procurement

Engineering of Selected Layout

With the appropriate equipment specified and the transition plan in place, 2wmc can create a preliminary engineered layout using assumptions about the anticipated equipment dimensions and installation schedule. From this layout, approximate equipment requirements can be estimated in order to provide this information to vendors. For example, if we decide on a relative proportion of pallet rack and shelving, a preliminary layout can be created with exact counts of the number of pallet bays and uprights, and the amount of shelving units required. Vendors will use this quantity information in order to come up with pricing for their offerings. When requesting pricing, 2wmc always requests the adder/deduct for small changes in actual quantity based on the final dimensions of the selected product(s).

Facility Transition Plan

An equally important component of this effort is to plan the actual rollout of installation steps within your facility. While new equipment and layouts can be exciting, there is a critical transition, which needs to take place from your present physical operation to the new planned operation. Depending upon the complexity of the plan, equipment and storage may need to be relocated or moved, computer systems may need to be modified, and work processes may need to be changed. If you already are distributing products, these changes must occur within the context of a working facility. Planning of this transition is crucial to insure the most effective changeover from what exists today to what will be implemented in the future. Significant thought must be given to how to minimize the impact of change over the course of the effort.


Documentation of Facility Flow and Work Processes

With the layout defined, 2wmc can provide formal documentation of the new facility material flow and work process flow, starting with receipts and continuing through the time the product leaves the facility. Auxiliary processes, such as inventory control and safety procedures can also be documented. Having formally documented processes can assist management in both training and day to day monitoring of facility operation. Documentation is normally done in a combination of verbal descriptions and a process flow diagram. In more sophisticated operations, 2wmc can also overlay throughput information and facility constraints onto the flow diagrams.

Selection of Equipment, System, and Service Providers

With a list in hand, 2wmc will then help assemble a list of qualified resources. 2wmc will use your input for suitable vendors, and augment this with our own experience in situations where you do not have recommendations. At this point, a decision needs to be made as to how the vendor selection will be made.

Two options exist: 1) make educated selection based on our collective experience or 2) make a selection through a formal RFP process. There are pros and cons to each method. An RFP process sometimes slows the project down and can sometimes force vendors into “corners” which are not well suited for their equipment. Sometimes it is better to let vendors describe how they believe that their equipment will meet your company’s functional needs. On the other hand, the RFP process can sometimes result in substantially reduced capital expenditures in situations where the market is extremely competitive.

As a rule of thumb, RFP processes work better for well-defined simple equipment (such as pallet rack) and an educated evaluation process sometimes works better for highly sophisticated and variable offerings (such as software systems). In any case, 2wmc will provide either service for any of the equipment on the list based on your input and feedback.

Evaluation of Vendors and Their Proposals

2wmc can help to objectively evaluate each vendor and to “keep the vendor’s honest”. In our experience, it is not uncommon for several vendors to make claims that their product will meet “perfectly” all requirements of a functional specification. In reality, some vendors are better suited than others. In order to get to the bottom of this, it is sometimes necessary to probe responses further, focusing on specific needs of your company. 2wmc has the experience to know what questions to ask, and to determine which answers meet the requirements most precisely.

2wmc can also help by providing objective information on past experiences with vendors and our analysis of their present competitive market position. Sometimes it makes sense to select a vendor who is not the market leader based on the price and performance of their offering

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