Ahead of Schedule and Under Budget

The Challenge: 

A national third-party logistics (3PL) firm won a contract with an international OEM and national retailer to provide specialized fulfillment and logistics services prior to the Christmas retailing season. The challenge was receiving product from two different manufacturing sites, packaging the product appropriately and staging the product for shipment. The client had two weeks to gear up for the project, that was anticipated to take close to 100 people working two shifts for three weeks. This was the first project for the 3PL with these new clients, and the firm wanted to make sure the project was completed to their standards, on-time and within budget.

The Work:

Eclipse Professional Services was contacted by the client to create a recruiting plan that would help them acquire the necessary personnel, have a complete on-boarding process, and efficiently collect and process payroll for this three-week project. EPS presented the recruiting plan and projected possible issues such as sanitation, parking and breaks. Then EPS presented possible solutions, to which the client appreciated and implemented. Eclipse Professional Services set up an early shift run for the client to assist in overcoming the challenges prior to the bulk of the personnel starting the following Tuesday. The client’s expectations were that three truckloads of finished product would leave each day; meaning each assembly line would need to produce six pallets of finished goods per hour.

After running for two straight days, the firm found themselves falling behind, only able to produce three pallets per hour. The management of the 3PL decided it was because there were not enough hands on the assembly line, thus slowing the output. Then they instructed Eclipse to find an additional 50 personnel. When Eclipse received the phone call, they were concerned with why the output looked as it did and asked for a meeting before adding additional cost to the project.

Eclipse went the next day to observe how the lines were running, and to see where possible bottlenecks were in the process that restricted the output that was expected. During the review, the Eclipse team relied on their experience working with other manufacturing clients, fulfillment centers and process management skills, then devised a plan. This plan included: having more raw product staged at the beginning of each line to prevent slow-downs due to lack of product, changing order of processes, lowering the table heights so people would be working from knee level to eye level based on turning of product, setting production metrics, reducing the number of personnel and staggering breaks.

The client agreed to implementing these changes, and Eclipse monitored output for two days to ensure client success.

Results:

After implementing and monitoring changes, the production speed of the lines went from a mere three pallets per hour to seven pallets per hour. The client ran the second shift for another week to get ahead of schedule. They were then able to finish the project two days ahead of schedule and using only 60 percent of the original crew required. These results helped the firm to win another similar project with these two new clients.