“Optimization”, in simple terms is “making the best of everything”. In fact, in our daily lives we have an innate tendency to keep optimizing, for example, the way we choose to go to work. We try to avoid routes prone to traffic jams, we choose the fastest and the most cost effective way to reach our destination. From a business perspective, it is making the most effective use of a situation or a resource, specifically management of time so as to optimize productivity. However it goes, the ground rule here is seeking value for money.
How an MNC optimizes its distribution system
In today’s rapidly changing and uncertain business environment, it can be said for certain that the key to achieving operational excellence lies in the effective management of its resources. In that context, my final year management project was not only interesting and challenging, but also a lot of food for thought. The project was for a multinational company involved in manufacturing and distribution of a variety of food products from Infant food, chocolates to noodles, frozen foods and so on. The project focused on the company’s logistics/distribution division, addressing a grave problem faced by the department – underutilization of resource.
The company’s products were manufactured at one center and distributed via trucks to different parts of the country in cartons of varied size and weight.
The problem was with loading the truck with these cartons due to:
- The space limit
- The weight limit (as per government rules).
Let’s take two products to analyze the problem:
Product A – Noodles – Larger cartons that weigh less
Product B – Condensed milk tins – Smaller cartons that weigh more
It turned out mostly that while loading the truck:
- For Product A: No available space in the truck for extra cartons, but its weight capacity is still less than the maximum permissible limit leading to underutilization of truck weight capacity
- For Product B: More cartons could not be loaded even though space is available in the truck, as the maximum permissible weight has been reached already leading to underutilization of truck space capacity
Typically the truck has been underutilized, more so considering the cost involved, the large number of trucks and the huge volume of business. The challenge was to arrive at a solution to utilize the vehicle capacity to the maximum in terms of both space and weight. The project was to find ways and means to optimize the resource – the vehicle. This was done by measuring the truck and the different cartons and arriving at an equation that allowed the right combination of the cartons to be loaded in a truck at a time so that there is minimal wastage of truck space and weight capacity. This exercise finally lead to reduced transportation costs to a great extent.
Important resources in an organization
The vehicle was just one of the resources in the organization. Resources are the assets available for use to carry out an organization’s business process. They can be broadly classified into human resources, financial resources, physical and information resources. The efficient management of these resources will lead the organization towards increased productivity & profits in turn better managing competition.
The aviation industry - human resource as the backbone of an organization
Out of all these resources, the human resource is the most important factor comprising competence, knowledge, and experience. The aviation industry is not an exception, especially with its highly skilled and diversified workforce. For example, workforce in aviation industry not only consists of Pilots, flight crews, flight attendance but also includes aircraft mechanics and shop workers. Efficient Management of workforce is one of the key factors for increasing productivity.
To assist in such management, the first step would be to know the workflow and ensure that there is no time wastage. An easy-to-use time tracking application which manages, records and reports hours spent by each employee on a particular task / project proves to be an appropriate tool for effective management of workforce.
Optimizing workforce with time tracker:
- Ensuring a user friendly time tracker enabling employees to spend less time on recording time & attendance and more time on their work.
- Identifying practices that lead to idle time and either eliminate or alter such work practices.
- Monitoring project progress and ensuring there is no drift from the planned schedules.
- Identifying inefficiencies and correcting them to improve overall team productivity.
The Ramco Time Tracker – A timely solution for efficient Time Management
Ramco Time Tracker, currently in use by customers, is user friendly and the perfect solution for aviation industry time tracking needs. Apart from the routine aspects of time and attendance recording, billing and reporting, Ramco Time Tracker also helps in decisions aimed at optimizing resources by ensuring minimal wastage and keeping costs low.
Ramco Time Tracker Highlights:
Easy Login supporting Barcode and Smart Card based login.
Automatic time recording on start and stop of the clock. Manual recording of timesheet is also available.
Less Time Consuming due to Shop Integration which allows workers / mechanics to clock in and clock out right from their work places.
Seamless Authorizing of records by enabling Alternate Authorizer allowing the application to identify alternate supervisors for approval of time records, in case of absence of the primary supervisor.
Project Evaluation is made easy with the aid of reports that can be generated like Timesheet exception report, Summary report and detailed reports.
“Breakthrough companies pride themselves on finding ways to cut across in areas that don’t matter much, but generously ladle resources into areas they know will give them an edge”
With those words from the book titled “Breakthrough Company” (How everyday companies become extraordinary performers) by Keith R. McFarland, I will connect with you again with ways and means to optimize yet another resource…