Tuesday, September 10, 2024
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Location Name
Warehouse Best Practices - Dealing with Limited Storage and Supply Chain Challenges

Louisville and Jefferson County Metropolitan Sewer District (LMSD) have recently expanded their service area as part of regionalization efforts. In addition, with the onset of numerous, large capital projects – which included numerous spare parts to be delivered with these projects, LMSD needed to plan for where and how to best store these spare parts on their site constrain facilities. In addition, as many utilities experienced during COVID, supply chain issues greatly increased, and LMSD quickly determined they needed to have better processes in place to handle these strains within their warehouse. The improvements were specifically focused on optimizing business processes for the storerooms improving the tracking of critical spare parts inventory; incorporating new spare parts acquired through capital projects; and optimizing their space by dealing with obsolete inventory and refurbished parts, as well as determining new spaces to utilize. Organizational improvements and optimizing business processes at a utility can be a very challenging undertaking to accomplish successfully. Challenges to these types of initiatives range from people who are naturally resistant to change, to staff having limited time and ongoing duties that easily distract from these types of initiatives, to just a misunderstanding of what different staff roles and responsibilities are. In addition to this, Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (LMSD) was also experiencing effects from the COVID pandemic that were resulting in supply-chain changes to their operational inventory stock items, as well as a growing need for more inventory stock items due to the expansion of their service area. This led to a strategic initiative being developed by the LMSD leadership to optimize their Operational Inventory Management. In order to satisfy this strategic initiative, LMSD created a cross-functional team from Storeroom, Procurement, Engineering, Operations and Maintenance, to work collaboratively to develop the needed improvements. The team also established an executive sponsor, project manager and sponsor team made of key executive team members to help ensure progress and successful implementation. The Operational Inventory Management Team focused on six key business processes associated with their storerooms and inventory processes to improve: 1. Adding spare parts from capital projects 2. Determination of critical spare parts 3. Handling of refurbished equipment 4. Determining and removing obsolete inventory 5. Determination of storage space needs, for both stock inventory and capital spare parts (especially with regional expansion of LMSD) Utilizing this process, the team developed as-is business process diagrams to document how these are currently handled informally. After discussions with the team and staff, to-be business processes were developed to optimize these workflows, as well as to clarify roles and responsibilities for staff. In addition, job aids, and work instructions were developed based upon the to-be workflows to assist in the implementation of these improvements. Ultimately, this process has helped LMSD staff and teams to have a clear understanding of their roles and responsibilities, improved the communications and planning for inventory storage needs, as well as incorporating tools and technology to assist staff in these improved processes.