From SDC Executive:
Alpine Supply Chain Solutions completed a multi-faceted distribution optimization project for Mark Andy Print Products, a global manufacturer of printing presses. Alpine provided consulting services to improve space utilization, productivity and replenishment cycle times at Mark Andy’s primary distribution center in Des Plaines, Ill., and conducted a network analysis to determine the best location for third-party logistics (3PL) facilities to facilitate next-day shipping for customers.
Mark Andy was outgrowing its 80,000-square-foot distribution center and needed to determine if 40,000 or 80,000 additional square feet was needed. Alpine conducted a storage type analysis, facility design and slotting project to create the right-sized product homes and place the right products into the best locations, maximizing space usage and improving productivity.
Five questions with Bradley Steger, the newest member of Team Alpine
Q: Why did you decide to join the Team Alpine?
A: There are several reasons I joined Alpine. First off, I’ve known Alpine’s founder, Michael Wohlwend for a long time, and I admire his knowledge and leadership. Next, my background in the supply chain aligns well with what Alpine is doing. I look forward to helping Alpine’s customers and partners move their businesses forward. Finally, who doesn’t want to work in supply chain right now? It is an incredibly dynamic place to be and it will be for the foreseeable future!
Q: What were you doing before you joined Alpine?
A: I was semi-retired and focused on spending time with my family and getting caught on many things that had been second priority to my career. Prior to that, I spent 30 years working in supply chain management with a focus on warehouse management; software mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures; and program/project management.
Q: What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
A: I’ve blazed a lot of unchartered territory. Throughout my career, I was frequently assigned to lead many ‘first-ever’ projects, including the production of Catalyst’s first annual plan, Agilent’s first Sarbanes Oxley certification, and Aptean’s first acquisition. I’m proud that I’ve been able produce results without a roadmap or template, and that I’ve always tried to take in account the most important thing for every company – its employees.
Q: Why do you do what you do?
I think there are a lot of exciting opportunities out there in the supply chain. An aging population means new things for the pharmaceutical industry and the ever-changing retail landscape presents new challenges for retailers and food and beverage manufacturers. I really enjoy making the people around me successful – fellow employees, customers, and partners.
Q: Tell us a bit about who you are outside of work.
I’m married and have two sons, ages 13 and 11. They keep us busy with their sports, including soccer, basketball, and volleyball. We try to spend as much time as possible at our vacation homes in Colorado and Northern Wisconsin. If I have any free time, I like to get outside for some birding.
Modern Materials Handling article by Bob Trebilcock is good round up of the supply chain industry’s response to Covid-19 amid a lack of concrete guidelines.
As the economy begins to recover, distribution center operators will be challenged with not just operating efficiently, but safely. Emerging technologies may aid in the effort.
“Our industry has always looked for solutions to operate in an efficient and cost-effective way; now, it will also struggle with new issues related to preventing the spread of a virus—either Covid-19, or whatever is around the bend. They will largely be on their own: As of this writing, the CDC guidelines for re-opening businesses were polite suggestions, not prescriptions. What’s more, while we know lawsuits will be filed by employees who test positive for the virus after we all return to work, we don’t yet know whether those claims will be governed by OSHA and worker compensation or the courts. The message is essentially:
Get back to work, and good luck.
If there is light at the end of the tunnel, it’s that some potential solutions are coming to market from materials handling technology providers. Make no mistake: This is an emerging area, and there’s no guarantee any of these solutions will create the bullet-proof, safe operating environment we will all strive for. Nor is this a comprehensive list: New emails are showing up in our inbox daily. But, the following companies are developing solutions for plants and DCs around screening, workplace social distancing and finally, contact tracing should an associate test positive. They, or their competitors, may be worth investigating as you look to create your own safe working environment.”
A first step to a safer workplace is to create basic processes around cleaning, disinfecting, scheduling and, perhaps most importantly, what to do if an associate tests positive. Michael Wohlwend, managing principal with Alpine Supply Chain Solutions, relates the story of a client who had to shut down a warehouse for two weeks following a positive Covid case. “While they were cleaning and sanitizing the facility, every team leader was on the phone with suggestions for new procedures that would give the team the confidence to come back to work,” Wohlwend recalls. “It was a real wake up call.”
Just as important as the new procedures, which might vary from one facility to the next, is the ability to enforce them and demonstrate that they were followed if needed. To that end, Alpine worked with Procurant, a California-based technology company, to develop a phone app for auditing workplace procedures. It is created on a Cloud-based food safety tool that Procurant developed for tracking and tracing in the agricultural supply chain.
“You can set up as many checklists as you need, and then create a time stamp when tasks are completed,” Wohlwend says. “At the end of the day, you can create reports of what was done, who did it, when they did it and any corrective actions that were taken.” Training videos can be accessed using the tool for easy access, and alerts can be e-mailed or texted to individuals who need to be contacted. “If a person tests positive, you now have a checklist of what you need to do, and you can produce an audit trail of what was done,” Wohlwend says.
About Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling.
We are proud to welcome Jim Chamberlain to the Alpine team! Jim has over 30 years of engineering experience in distribution and the supply chain. He spent 24 years with DSC Logistics where he led teams that provided innovative solutions for Fortune 500 companies. As a Managing Director, he will focus on layout design, start-up support, innovation, value added services, engineered labor standards, labor management, Continual Improvement (Lean & Six-Sigma), material handling management, and operations excellence.
We are excited to have Jim as part of the leadership team at Alpine Supply Chain! His passion and experience is exactly what Alpine customers have grown to expect, “I am excited to be with a team that is so passionate about working with customers to improve their supply chain operations,” said Jim. “Being with Alpine is like being part of a family – we work together, collaborate, and care about each other personally and professionally. I think this spirit is noticed by our customers and makes a difference in the solutions we create with them.”
- Has led over 50 successful labor management implementations that reduced each customer’s variable labor expense by an average of 20+%
- Develops enhancements to WMS on an on-going basis to drive costs out of supply chain for existing and new customers. Examples include Directed Putaway, Directed Replenishment, Accu-Pick, Pick & Load Optimization, Metrics, Voice Pick
- Implements web-based Material Handling Equipment programs that significantly reduced spend by analyzing and acting on intelligence information related to lift trucks, batteries, chargers
- Focuses on best practices within logistics centers to ensure consistent, high performance across entire network regardless of business vertical and consignee special requirements
- Has led team of packaging engineers that focused on low-cost manual and automated product transformation projects that allow customers to differentiate their merchandise within retail stores
Industry Organizations and Associations:
- Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
- Warehouse Education and Research Council
- Institute of Industrial Engineers
- MTM Association, Board of Directors
- JDA, Warehouse Labor Management Special Interest Group Chair