Here are the 6 best methods to improve your cycle time:
Calculate your order cycle time
First of all, you must measure your current order cycle time and see where you’re standing compared to your goal. This metric provides valuable insights into your supply chain performance.
Check for aspects in the processes that slow down your cycle. For instance, if the fulfillment time is too long, you should evaluate your warehouse or logistics flow. If there is a gap between when a customer places an order and when your warehouse receives the information, you must check your software for issues. Once you identify roadblocks, you can find solutions to optimize the cycle time.
Assess your warehouse flow
Bottlenecks in your warehouse process will hurt your cycle time. For example, you can look for inefficiencies that slow down the picking and packing activities:
- Can pickers locate the items easily?
- Are enough shelving racks in the right positions to move products quickly?
- Is your fulfillment center near the picking area enough?
After identifying these problems, you can reduce the order cycle time. Check your warehouse KPIs and seek improvement opportunities. For example, you can investigate your warehouse layout to minimize the walking path and place relevant product categories near each other for faster item picking. In addition, designing warehouse slotting to utilize the available space is also a good idea.
Negotiate with suppliers on inventory delivery
Late inventory deliveries from vendors can slow down your customer order fulfillment. Measure how long you need to wait for a restock to arrive and if it affects your cycle time. Try to negotiate with your suppliers to get the soonest supply shipment.
Think about handling late deliveries
Consider different scenarios where late or canceled deliveries may occur and how you would handle them. For example, if your warehouse staff picks the wrong items frequently, your cycle time will suffer. In this case, the customer will complain and return the products, which will take extra time to prepare a replacement package.
Therefore, you should list the most common mistakes in selecting and shipping the wrong products. With this list, you can make the necessary changes.
Frequently evaluate cycle time