Continual improvement processes are vital in the third-party logistics industry, especially for a food storage warehouse operator. Having a systematic and thoroughly documented continual improvement process is crucial for ISO 9001:2008 and AIB certifications which are key for food-grade warehousing and transportation service providers. Equally important is the fact that continual improvement processes play a pivotal role in being able to achieve and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and at the same time operate in an efficient, cost-effective manner, while improving operational efficiency over time.
When selecting or evaluating a food storage warehouse you should research that 3PL providers continual improvement processes and how they integrate continual improvement with their approach to ongoing training and staff supervision. It’s critical for general health and safety regulatory compliance, as well as certifications and for the providers’ ability to meet their customers’ exact specifications and requirements.
An ongoing, documented training program is necessary to detail all general warehouse operating procedures and requirements, as well as each customer’s account-specific procedures and requirements. This is the first building block of a continual improvement process program.
There needs to be a system to record and report instances when a warehouse associate fails to follow a written procedure.
When any new issue arises that does not already have an existing written procedure, there needs to be a method to create a new procedure to address that issue.
When a warehouse associate discovers an item that can be improved, there needs to be a system and procedure to record and report that item and how it can be improved.
When any customer feedback is received, there needs to be a system to record and report that feedback, good or bad. As part of the documentation, the feedback should be time-stamped. The ability for management to respond to any issues or concerns raised in customer feedback in a timely manner is critical. Management needs to be quickly alerted when customer feedback is received to avoid unnecessary delays in response time.
A system of inspections/audits should be established on a monthly and quarterly basis to monitor performance in regards to customer specific requirements and procedures, associate safety, customer product safety and general compliance standards.
A documentation library should be assembled and maintained for all training materials, material safety data sheets (MSDS sheets), reports, etc.
One method to efficiently and thoroughly address continual improvement processes and initiatives is through the use of a comprehensive software solution. As a third-party logistics provider, offering food storage warehouse services, along with hazardous material storage, cold storage and general merchandise warehousing, FW Warehousing has implemented CIS Continual Improvement Software. In doing so, FW is able to include the involvement of all associates in the continual improvement process due to the fact that this cloud-based software allows access via computer, tablet and smart phone. In addition, CIS features multiple modules addressing all key continual improvement areas including:
- Non-Conformance Reporting (NCR)
- Corrective Action Request (CAR)
- Preventive Action (PA)
- Customer Feedback (CF)
FW Warehousing is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with Midwest warehouse distribution centers in Kansas City, Indianapolis and St. Louis totaling more than four million square feet. Founded in 1949 with a focus on food-grade storage, FW later broadened its services to include contract warehousing, dry storage, hazardous material and chemical storage, temperature-controlled storage, product distribution and B2B and B2C fulfillment.
FW Warehousing has more than 50 years of experience in third-party 3PL logistics and has been ranked in the top 100 Third Party Logistic Companies in the country by Inbound Logistics magazine.
For more information about FW Warehousing’s food storage warehouse services, visit the Food Storage Warehouse page of the FW Warehousing website.