Company culture is extremely important, and we take it very seriously. Southwest and Chick-Fil-A are perhaps two of the best examples of the trickle-down effect that culture has on your company. The level and consistency of their customer service is nothing short of legendary, and it’s a trademark of their company. You expect to be treated well there, and they deliver time and time again.
At LightSpeed, we have 5 Core Values that provide the foundation of our culture:
We try to find way to keep these core values at the forefront of our minds, and we have recently implemented a new program that allows our employees to recognize and celebrate when their colleagues embody one of these values. Employees take notice of when one of their co-workers demonstrates core value behavior and submit it anonymously through an internal form. Once a month, we randomly choose a winner from the submissions.
The winner gets to select a reserved parking space for a month AND gets to choose between an extra vacation day or a dinner for two valued at $200. We also print and distribute all of the nominations to our staff.
We just chose our first winner, and we are proud to introduce the first ever LightSpeed Core Value Winner – Tom Look. Tom works on our Development Team. He was nominated under the “Golden Rule” Core Value.
Make sure to congratulate Tom! We hope that you always feel the effects of our Core Values in our interactions with you.
When deciding on which metrics to use for measuring your warehouse efficiency, Picks Per Hour (PPH) certainly ranks near the top of the list. But like any statistic or poll, you can use data to push any narrative you wish, sometimes providing a false sense of security that you are doing the right things operationally. At LightSpeed, we recommend that Picks Per Hour be just ONE of the key metrics used in measuring your warehouse operations.
Like Home Runs in baseball, Quarterback Ratings in football and Shooting percentage in basketball, Picks Per Hour is the sexy metric. It’s the number that everyone wants to talk about and the one number more likely to come up at an industry event. As such, we are excited share the top 25 pick rates for LightSpeed customers for the month of September.
The pick rates published here are determined by dividing the total number of pieces picked for the month of September by the total amount of time a customer was logged into LightSpeed. We measure two types of time – active and idle time. The two numbers added together make up Clock Time (or Total Time). Active time is the time calculated from the moment an employee pushes “start picking” to the time they print the tote ticket. All time outside of active, from the first timestamp of activity to the last is considered Idle time.
There are several things that we cannot see in measuring these pick rates. The biggest one is the number of employees being used to during active picking. Our pick to light solution, FastTrack, can only see time and pieces. We do not know how many employees are picking, how many are stocking, etc. A company with 10 people on their line is going to pick faster than a company with 3 people on their line.
Another data point that is not factored into these numbers is the size of the warehouse. The larger the warehouse, the more steps that must be taken to pick the orders, the more time it takes. For customers who use FastTrack and Mobile, this data point can be critical. The more space that is being walked to pick beverages will certainly slow down the overall pick rate. And Total Clock PPH uses both FastTrack AND Mobile combined to determine the rate.
Having stated the disclaimers, Total Clock PPH is the most accurate way to measure total warehouse efficiency in if you’re going to use one metric. It does combine active and idle time but there are legitimate reasons for idle time. Stocking shelves, emptying trash, breaking down cardboard, cleaning the bathroom, putting up an incoming vendor order and the list goes on. But once you have established a baseline, if you are looking for one key metric to track every month then Total Clock PPH is the one. With that, here are the top 25 LightSpeed customers for the month of September 2019.
|1. Selecta Corp – Thias||France (Sel)||4446|
|2. Selecta Corp – Kirchberg||Switzerland||4191|
|3. Canteen Corporate Commissary||Middletown, TN||4100|
|4. Canteen Corporate – Rocky Mount||Wilson, NC||3962|
|5. Canteen Corporate||Columbia, SC||3897|
|6. Canteen Corporate||High Point, NC||3398|
|7. Canteen Corporate||Charlotte, NC||3172|
|8. Canteen Corporate||Suitland, MD||3166|
|9. Canteen Corporate||Asheville, NC||3099|
|10. Canteen Corporate||Orlando, FL||3055|
|11. Dynamic||Hazelwood, MO||2920|
|12. Selecta Corp – Thiais||France (Rail)||2886|
|13. Canteen Corporate||Memphis, TN||2818|
|14. Pee Dee Food Service||Florence, SC||2576|
|15. Vend Works||Dallas, TX||2504|
|16. Cuyahoga – NRidge||North Ridgeville, OH||2471|
|17. Canteen Corporate||Baltimore, MD||2379|
|18. Canteen Corporate||Phoenixville, PA||2354|
|19. Canteen Corporate||Hickory, NC||2312|
|20. Berkshire Foods||Danbury, CT||2252|
|21. Five Star Food Services – Marietta||Marietta, GA||2238|
|22. Canteen Corporate||Miami, FL||2189|
|23. CRH Catering – Harrisburg||Harrisburg, PA||2169|
|24. Canteen Corporate||Jacksonville, FL||2122|
|25. Franklin Services||Groveport, OH||2095|
We have probably seen almost 300 warehouses in our day. Warehouses of all shapes and sizes. Well organized and well run operations and some that were a hot mess. One of the things we see quite a bit is dysfunctional pick carts that the employees are using to pick orders. Sometimes it’s quite comical. Sometimes its just plain sad. Here are the top three reasons why the size of the cart matters…
If your average order is 25 SKU’s then use a tote that handles it. Too many times I see very large totes being used for an order that has 10 SKU’s in it. And then these very large totes fit on a very small pick cart. Determine the optimum size tote you need and then buy a cart that will match the number of orders you pick simultaneously. If you pick 4 orders at a time, then have a cart that will properly hold 4 totes.
If your warehouse has narrow aisles then don’t buy wide carts. If you follow step one and match the tote to the order size and the cart is still wide, then structure your picking route so that pickers do not have to cross paths if the aisle is too narrow. The take away is make sure the size of the cart does not prevent your picker from maximizing their efficiency when picking.
Let’s face it – finding help in the warehouse can be tough. In today’s Gig Economy it is challenging to find people who want to work in a warehouse. Because of this you wind up with employees of all shapes and sizes. Too many times I’ve seen smaller framed women pushing or pulling carts that are full of heavy items. Anytime an employee has to physically push their body to do something beyond their ability you have a Workers Comp claim waiting to happen. Make sure your employees have the tools to pick the orders in an efficient manner that does not cause injury.
The bump in popularity of LEDs may lead you to think that energy efficient lights are a recent phenomenon. They aren’t. Light emitting diodes have been around since 1962.
Nick Holonyak, Jr. invented the game-changing technology when he was just 33 years old. Fun fact – he was actually trying to make a laser. Happy accident.
While many consumers have made the switch, those who haven’t will be given a nudge by the federal government next year. In 2007, Congress passed a law decreeing that lightbulbs must become three times more efficient by the year 2020. The sale of anything emitting fewer than 45 lumens per watt will be prohibited.
The only bulbs currently meeting that requirement are compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs. Say goodbye to the “Edison.”
Navigant Research reports that global growth of high-efficiency lighting systems is expected to soar from $651M in 2017 to $4.5B in 2026. Much of that growth will be driven by updated building codes, making providers of commercial LED retrofit systems positioned to answer the call. The call of nature. The call for a more efficient, cleaner, planet.
Meet Steve Flaim of Greenlight LED Solutions – a full-service LED retrofit installer for existing facilities. When asked what attracted Flaim, a retired Coca Cola executive, to the LED light business, he was quick to share some compelling features of Greenllight.
“We are a solutions company,” said Flaim. Primarily servicing warehouse, distribution and manufacturing facilities, Greenlight offers a complete turnkey solution with no disruption in operations.
Greenlight’s approach to lighting solutions means they handle all aspects of your retrofit. After conducting a site review to determine your goals and technical considerations, they will perform a lighting audit to identify current usage and areas for improvement. They will then help you choose the best financing options with no upfront investment. They will also optimize energy rebates and tax incentives to maximize your ROI. . Because Greenlight is a manufacture’s direct company with aggressive financing, the customer actually profits and makes money from day one with no out of pocket expenses and all the benefits LED lights provide.
“We represent eight different LED manufacturers, multiple installers, and multiple finance companies. We are there as a consultant to ensure the right solution for your particular circumstance,” said Flaim.
Greenlight offers a broad range of pricing as well as quality. Not all LEDs are created equal. Our lighting specialists will assess your business needs against some 250 product lines to customize a sustainable, fully-integrated system.
The advantages are many when choosing LEDs over conventional lighting.
Greenlight provides complete turnkey LED lighting solutions to lower your energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint. They are committed to engineering an outcome for the most demanding of applications. Contact Steve at email@example.com to learn how you make the switch to an integrated, high-efficiency light system, or download Greenlight’s spec sheet by clicking here: Greenlight-LED-Information.pdf
Mike Brown stumbled into the vending business in 1987. He learned the ropes in sales, moved into middle management as a route and warehouse supervisor, and ultimately steered daily operations as general manager.
In 2003, Brown was recruited by PGI Services where he sits as managing partner. What began as a “vending company doing a little bit of coffee” has emerged as a leader of micro markets, free pantry and high-end coffee providers.
Brown likes being out front. Way out front. Technology “drives what we do,” and embracing this strategy has served PGI well. Having installed the first cashless vending machine at Salt Lake City Int’l Airport in 2003, PGI now boasts a 100% cashless vending portfolio.
Next up, micro markets. PGI entered the emerging sector in 2010 when most vending operators were taking a wait-and-see approach. The move proved visionary. Research firm Bachtelle & Associates projects that there will be 35,000 micro market locations by the year 2022, generating $1.6 billion in revenue. PGI currently operates 150 of those sites.
The last five years have seen Brown further increase PGI’s presence into the free pantry and high-end coffee markets offering bean-to-cup platforms, espresso machines, and specialty roast coffees. Product SKUs currently top over 1400.
The first time Brown saw LightSpeed live, PGI was still a vending company pre-kitting off of paper. He knew FastTrack would be a game changer, and it was. Since early adoption, PGI has gone on to double the number of lines they have “on lights” with FastTrack, and they have fully integrated both of their branches. Every product that leaves either site is now moved through LightSpeed.
Richard Branson says “Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision and change.” PGI is no exception. Their launch into the micro markets sector brought disruption. With the addition of each new platform, starting with Avanti and then Company Kitchen, 365 Retail, and Free Pantry, problems arose. Running Streamware as their VMS, creation of the purchase order and receipt were seamless, but when the product was picked they would lose track of inventory. “This is when the need for something better” became obvious, said Brown.
Brown remembered hearing about LEVEL, Lightspeed’s inventory management solution, and wondered if this product would revolutionize his inventory in the same way that FastTrack had transformed his picking procedure. He called different sites using LEVEL to hear their opinion of the product and ultimately decided to sign on. PGI currently uses LEVEL as their inventory management system at both locations.
When asked where LEVEL has created the greatest impact, Brown says that he can now “sit at his desk, pull up reports and see inventory levels at his warehouses without physically going there with paper and clipboard.”
“LEVEL can actually restock our warehouses for us,” says Brown.
A single LEVEL administrator can now make product changes and maintain inventories at both locations. It has simplified operations, improved efficiency, allowed for a reduction in staff, and because of LEVEL, PGI now carries 20% less inventory.
Along with the accolades, however, Brown adds that the onboarding process was challenging. Product descriptions and SKUs had to be standardized, and his team had to make major changes to their daily processes so that LEVEL could do its job.
They went little by little – starting with smaller suppliers and purchase orders first and then gradually added larger ones as they became more familiar with the software. It took several months before they had all of their inventory in LEVEL and were able to completely turn over control and rely on it to manage their warehouse, but Brown readily admits that the hard work was more than worth it. No one on his team, himself included, wants to go back to life before LEVEL. He wonders how they ever managed without it.
Mike Brown is always looking ahead — looking for the next technology to make more money, bring about greater efficiency, or give them a leg up on the competition. He likes that PGI was one of the early adopters of LEVEL. They went cashless before anyone else, jumped into micro markets while still in their infancy, and moved into free pantry when many still have not yet made the leap.
Mike Brown and PGI will always be on the cutting edge, and LightSpeed celebrates their success and looks forward to being part of their continued growth.
LightSpeed will be in Europe from February 4 – 20, 2019. Sean Scale, Director of Implementation, and Brian Bembridge, Implementation Specialist, are visiting four Selecta branches – Frankfurt (Germany), Kirchberg (Switzerland), Paris (France), and Zurich (Switzerland) – to install Lightspeed technology. Each location will be outfitted with either the Mobile or the FastTrack pick-to-light system, which is an expansion for Kirchberg and a brand new installation for the remainder of the sites.