Beyond pre-kitting, dynamic scheduling provides the GM and route supervisors a great means to increase the return on each service by stretching the service cycles. However, the GM, working with his supervisors, will need to constantly measure the service data to make sure the services are not pushed too far and business is lost. It is the GM’s role to capitalize on dynamic scheduling as well as make sure the promise to the customer is kept. That promise is still clean, filled and working.
Supervisor, old and new
Under the old model, the supervisor’s role required a hands-on style of management. This is because he had little to no information to manage the KPIs. For a supervisor to get the pulse of the drivers’ performance, he had to do site visits, ride-alongs and/or wait until he had time to cover the route. It was at this time the supervisor could get a feel if the driver was filling to planogram, to par and managing the waste.
Under the new model, the supervisor, like the GM, takes a data integrity champion role. In most cases, the GM relies heavily on the supervisor for validation of the data through site audits and feedback when he covers the route.
Similar to the GM, the new model is very empowering for the supervisor. He can quickly get the pulse of his driver’s performance by just reviewing a few select reports. It is now more efficient for the supervisor to manage schedules, merchandising and waste to improve the KPIs.
Pre-kitting makes the job of covering routes far easier than ever before for the supervisor.
The learning curve for a new driver is cut in half. This puts supervisors in an empowered role. He becomes more comfortable about moving a low performing driver. A supervisor, like the GM, must have a more analytical skill set and be able to run and review reports to capitalize on the new model. He must be proficient, or at the minimum, comfortable with handheld and personal computers.
Flexible schedules: new issues
With dynamic scheduling, the supervisor, like the driver, will need to be flexible and resourceful. Not having static schedules will create new barriers to get specific jobs done.
Not knowing when the next service will occur will be an issue at times. If multiple drivers service a stop, that will create another level of specific challenges for a supervisor to overcome (i.e., providing the right keys.)
In the dynamic scheduling model, the learning curve for new drivers is longer. Even with GPS systems, it is hard for a driver to be successful without seeing all his stops during a given cycle. The training period for dynamic scheduling is somewhere between the old model, an average of four weeks, and the static scheduled pre-kit route, which is an average of two weeks.
Some companies will designate one person to do the dynamic scheduling for the entire company. Oftentimes, these roles may be filled by existing supervisors who are freed up during route consolidation. In some cases, vending operators may hire a “merchandiser” from the outside who may have a merchandising background.
Warehouse manager job evolves
The old model warehouse manager/purchaser was a simple job. They maintained par levels in the warehouse and just ordered to replenish what was requisitioned and/or pulled for the drivers on a daily basis. The hardest part was the periodic spikes and valleys created by drivers because on some weeks, drivers would slack off at filling, then the next week would pull more product. Purchases where not entered into any system at the product level.
The new model presents a paradigm change. There will be more people, transactions and areas to manage. The warehouse manager/purchaser will need to have more communication with operations than ever before.
The warehouse now has a more direct connection to customer service and operational KPIs. Seeing that orders are pre-kitted properly at the warehouse is important because each order can affect the efficiency of the driver and the customer service experience.
The warehouse may even be responsible for loading the trucks in some companies. Based on the current skill set, an existing warehouse manager may or may not be able to manage in this new environment. The skill set for the new warehouse manager/purchaser requires the skills listed on the sidebar on page 40.
Dynamic scheduling creates a very fluid demand and environment for the warehouse manager/purchaser. The warehouse manager/purchaser and his team will need to be flexible. He will need to manage a higher level of inventory and be able to fulfill any spikes in demand.