A family-run business, Petter
has three branches in Kentucky, and one each in Illinois and North Carolina.Over the years, Petter
has made its 125,000-square-foot distribution center in Paducah the primary distribution hub.
As part of that strategy, in 2001, Petter
installed a warehouse management system in its DC."When we went live with the WMS, several issues bubbled up to the surface," Sircy reports. To assess operations in the facility, and identify opportunities for improvement, Petter hired performance management consultant Jimmy Benefield, now the practice leader of engineered standards and incentives for Kom International, Inc., Montreal, "He identified roughly 20 different major areas of opportunity," Sircy recalls.
...CEO Robert Petter and Sircy, who was then chief operating officer, embraced the idea and decided to implement it.
may have several teams operating at one time.Since the initial three teams, another 10 teams were chartered and have completed their work.Another chartered team begins work in early 2005.Teams have addressed a broad range of topics, including purchasing, cost integrity, replenishment optimization, and transportation. The transportation team played a unique role, working with a consultant to implement recommendations to improve private fleet, LTL, and small shipment operations.Led by the company's vice president of quality, the team included the traffic manager, representatives from accounting, and employees from inside and outside sales. Petter
realized significant savings in its transportation costs, and streamlined its private fleet operations, as a result of the team's work. Other teams also achieved significant results.For example, the number of credits issued by Petter
and the number of errors coming out of the distribution center have dropped dramatically, Sircy reports. Top management buy-in is crucial to the success of a team-based continuous improvement program."It was essential that Robert Petter
buy into it, and he
did, 100 percent," Sircy recalls.Petter
strong commitment to the new approach in a letter sent to every company employee.Having an effective team charter is another critical success factor.Sircy and Petter
put a new team's charter together, and distribute it to team members who review it and suggest changes.