Stepping up our Game in FLEXIBILITY

As Pacific Coast continues to review the current year, they see it as a 2020 storyboard where there are different scenes pictured with constant changes to the story.  Each block shows images that represent changes that occurred as they reacted to supply chain and customer demands.  As the organization evaluates its 2020 progress, they outlined key areas that represented major accommodations that were made.

But struggling with a global pandemic has brought a new level of reactiveness to the global supply chain for all parties.  While companies have worked diligently overcoming the challenges that have arisen with disrupted or product shortages in the supply chain, the unknown is still out there and difficult to anticipate what may happen next.  

As businesses respond to these alterations, they still needed to work to protect the health and safety of their workforce as they ensure operational viability with a sustainable business model.

All the processes that a 3PL organization has put in place now take on a different meaning requiring a big dose of flexibility in how they manage their workforce, the new complexity in the supply chain and conduct their business.  While 3PL’s are usually known for their flexibility which is a benefit of outsourcing, this pandemic has taken flexibility to a whole new level.

So how has Pacific Coast Warehouse addressed the pandemic ensuring that FLEXIBILITY is the new norm?

1)      One of the first and most important areas that PCWC addressed was creating appropriate health and safety processes that keep employees working using masks, social distancing and sanitation processes.  PCWC developed adapted SOP’s for work process flows to accommodate these new approaches and safety enhancements.  New processes weren’t just what was needed but also addressing fear and frustration as a whole mixture to the workday.

2)      Once you start adapting to the new requirements, PCWC needed to train their workforce to handle the increasing pace of change within the industry.  What was right yesterday is still right but done a different way.  Constant communication not only at Shift meetings but now throughout the shift making adjustments and tweaks, working to satisfy customers.  PCWC worked hard in eliminating the frustration associated to constant changes as a new developments occurred.

3)      What was quite apparent right upfront was that PCWC was not able to control everything that was going on (or not going on!) in the supply chain. Reduced risks, inconsistency and disruption that could be controlled by PCWC was identified and then by re-engineering new processes in the warehouse allowed them to reduce overall cycle time and keep their workflows cost-effective and efficient.  PCWC’s first goal was to ensure the new processes were safe for all working associates.  However, over time, it became necessary to ensure those processes were efficient and cost-effective.

4)      The “PCW Way” company culture is a strong, positive culture for the organization.  But, like many companies, PCWC needed to ensure that they were not so set in their ways that they weren’t able to adapt to the changing needs.  These unprecedented demands were and are new to everyone.  Trial and error in the early days become the norm.  As leadership tried to balance the needs of the customer and the needs of its employees, it became apparent that decisions needed to align with the culture of the company while aligning with governmental requirements.

5)      What was also surprising was that the reliable vendor base that PCWC has been working with for many years were unable to meet all the requests of them. So, PCWC looked to expand their vendor base so business partners were readily available based on what may be required.  Many companies have different thresholds to the pandemic, so reliable vendors that were once an integrated part of PCWC’s process were still available, but in many cases not with the same capacities.  Expanding carrier relationships and other key vendors have aided in Pacific Coast addressing customer needs and help with expectations.

The need for FLEXIBILITY is certainly one element that has arisen with the global pandemic.  With Pacific Coast’s expertise and long existence in supply chain, it has threatened existing  norms but has also unified the team as they work through adjustments and modifications to the business at all levels.  You could say that PCWC’s business model has been remodeled with a lot more flexibility!  This is the story of 2020.


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