FACILITY AUDIT 1 Essay Example

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Project Stage 1: Facility Audit

Project Stage 1: Facility Audit


Facility audit is the process where internal and external operations of a company are investigated to determine the effectiveness of operations and the design of facilities. In this study, the focus is facility audit of Coles Distribution Center in terms of the materials handling processes and layout of facilities to enable operations to be done in an effective manner. In the investigation of inbound and outbound operational activities, the main areas of focus include: the study of highways design into the facility, design of traffic flow and methods of avoiding traffic. The warehouse audit involves determining the equipment used to carry out specific tasks such as handling of materials and conveying from one location to another, an investigation of packing processes and methods of storage such as the use of cabinets duding storage. Furthermore, this paper investigates possible technologies that can be used to achieve operational objectives such as carrying products from one location to another, the use of limitations on the design of the warehouse followed by a recommendation of changes that need to be made in order to achieve efficiency in its operations. It is believed that these recommendations will ensure efficiency is achieved in the operations at the facility.




3Inbound and Outbound Transport Processes

5Warehouse Processes and their Suitability to Operations

6Design Considerations such as Size and Location in Relation to Key Infrastructures

8Gaps in the Warehouse Design and Challenges During Operations





Coles Distribution center is warehouse project that was developed by Vaughan Constructions Limited. The company is in operated by Coles Property Group Limited and various infrastructural measures have been put in place to ensure it operates in an effective manner. The total area occupied by the project is 158,655 sqm, the area occupied by buildings is 79,245 sqm and the area occupied by pavement is 66,075 sqm. In addition there is a car parking space that is able to accommodate 500 cars. It is estimated that the project cost for the warehouse was $65m for development and $120m for investments in Logistics. The facility was constructed for the purpose of accomplishing communication objectives in the county where it was located and its role was to act as a distribution center for millions of cartons of goods bought (Baker and Canessa 2009). For instance, there is a designed transport network that allows movement into and out of the stores and the availability of roads such as Doherty Road and Leakes Road ensures it is operating efficiently. There have also been infrastructure upgrades to enable the operation of the warehouse such as improved connection to power supply and enhanced warehouse designs.

Inbound and Outbound Transport Processes

The main outbound transport processes include road linkages that allow more than 400 trucks to move to the warehouse on daily basis. This enables the facility distribute the products to the nearby supermarket. There are various means of transport that allows movement of goods into the warehouses. These include tucks and Lorries. The highways are spacious enough and the trucks are able to move easily into the warehouse so that products can be obtained and transported to retailers (Chute et al. 2010). There are also adequate parking spaces within the warehouse which enables the trucks to move into the stores and obtain goods such as cartons that can be loaded into trucks. Inbound transport of trucks and loading process is facilitated by the use of roll cages and pallets returns that enable movement of a large number of cartoons at a time. This ensures time saving during loading and offloading of trucks. Another outbound transport activity that has been effective at the warehouse is traffic flow management activities that take place in the main highway outside the company. Consequently, it has been possible to ensure smooth traffic flow and delivery of goods into the stores and their dispatch to customers without experiencing major traffic challenges (Corr and Stagnitto 2011). The design of the traffic flow is also effective and the possibility of accidents or collision is very low. The existence of road in all sides of the warehouse implies that the company can take advantage of these roads to construct more gates which allow entry and exit from the warehouse. The process of obtaining trucks and sachets of cartons to be transported has been enhanced by the use of IFS booking services. Consequently, it has been possible to arrange for the delivery of products into the warehouse by booking the products to be transported in advance, hence promoting the organization of delivery and dispatch of cartons from the warehouse. It has also ensured scheduling of arrival and exit times of trucks which prevents congestion in the loading and offloading of trucks at the warehouse.

Inbound transport processes in the company have been enhanced by use of various methods such as the receiving lanes which are spacious enough and a number of cartons of goods can be kept in the store. In addition, the floor of the store and the walls are impervious to water and moisture. Consequently, it is not possible for the goods kept to undergo damping during storage. Furthermore, there are dispatch lanes that provide the store operators to move easily when moving the cartons in and out of stores (Golfarelli 2010). There is adequate lighting in the dispatch lanes and the process of movement in and out of stores is carried out without reliance on external lighting. However, it is recommended that due to the wide nature of the dispatch lanes, the warehouse management can utilize smaller trucks and vehicles in movement of goods from the stores to the trucks that transport them to retailers. In addition, the existence of pick slots and racking section in the warehouse ensures effective utilization of storage space and organization of goods on the warehouse (Gu et al. 2010). For instance, the racking system ensures goods are not damaged while storing them or removing them from the stores and it also ensures the handlers of the goods perform assessment of the cartons to determine if there has been any damage and come up with a mediation effort. The inbound transport systems are facilitated by the use of equipments such as forklifts and manual crates that enable movement of cartons from the warehouse to the trucks and vise versa. Consequently, a large number of cartons can be carried and the use of human labor is highly reduced (Kimball and Ross 2011). There is also increased efficiency in handling of cartons because human handing is likely to result into mistakes that can cause breakage of the products in the cartons. The use of various materials handling equipment in the warehouse ensures effective material handling and increased productivity during operations.

Warehouse Processes and their Suitability to Operations

The warehouse processes have been made effective by the use of material handling equipment such as cranes and positioning equipment which places a particular product in the truck or in the warehouse without the need to involve human effort in handling. Consequently, human labor has been greatly reduced and the dock equipment in the warehouse have been used by employees in an effective manner to ensure the cartons are arranged in an regular manner so that space is utilized and inspection of the cartons can be done easily (Kimball and Ross 2011).

Another warehouse process that takes place is racking and packing. This involves loading products into the tracks and carrying out maintenance tasks on the trucks and vehicles at the warehouse such as charging the battery and parking. This activity ensures there is effective operation of cranes and vehicles and any possibility of breakdown during use is prevented. There is also a weigh bridge that involves weighing whether trucks have carried loads beyond the maximum allowed weights (Kimball and Ross 2011). This practice at the warehouse has ensured the operations of the warehouse are in compliance with the rules regarding maximum load that can be lifted by vehicles or trucks. There are also walkways around the warehouse that allow movement of people around the store so that they can arrange for the removal of products from the store (Mohsen and Hassan 2010). Inside the stores, there are other walkways that are not occupied by cartons or other products of the warehouse and it is possible to perform inspection of the stored products. The use of restraints and dock controls has also been used in management of trucks at the warehouse. Due to the functions of these processes, trucks have been restrained from moving when they are packed and possible incidents such as hitting a particular facility in the warehouse has been prevented. In addition, the practice has ensured that products are kept safe in the trucks and they are not tossed so that possibilities of breakage are minimized.

Design Considerations such as Size and Location in Relation to Key Infrastructures

The warehouse is large enough and can be accessed by larger travelling devices such as trucks to deliver products and dispatch products. In addition, the location of the warehouse is near major highways where there are traffic control services. Consequently, it is possible to ensure movement of traffic during inbound and outbound travelling in the company. In addition, there are paths along the warehouse which is an important part in a warehouse, specifically during inspection of defects in materials stored. There is also adequate lighting and heating which create visibility during operation of the warehouse as well as creating a favorable temperature for products stored in the warehouse and people involved in activities such as loading and offloading trucks. The roads have roundabouts which enable easy movement of vehicles and traffic problems can be solved. Furthermore, there are local access roads which are important in accessing various locations within the warehouse, thus improving time utility during delivery of goods in a particular location. The building size of 79,245 sqm is adequate in storage of a considerable amount of cartons aimed for dispatch to other locations. The pavement area is 66,075 sqm which is adequate for parking. The total site area is estimated to be 158,655 sqm and is able to accommodate the warehouse and the associated paths and parking areas.

Technology and Its Relevance

There are particular technologies that can be applied during product handling at the warehouse. An example of such a technology is the use of conveyors that enable automatic movement of products from one location to another without the involvement of humans. There are a number of conveyors that can be implemented at the company. Examples of such conveyors include: magnetic belt conveyors, bucket conveyors, screw conveyors and pneumatic conveyors. Another technology that can be applied at Cole Distribution center is rotary index table. This is where circular table that rotates is used to transfer materials from one section to another. This technology can be useful when labeling the products before being dispatched (Rifaie et al. 2008). The main advantage of this technology is that it can prevent creation of buffers between stations. If the activities of the warehouse are many, it is recommended that industrial robots should also be used. This can mainly be of great importance during inspection and performing assembly. For instance, the company can use the robot to inspect damaged goods in the warehouse in addition to performing assembly tasks.

Gaps in the Warehouse Design and Challenges During Operations

The main areas of weakness in the operations of the warehouse are that quality checks have not been effectively applied. The outbound requirements are still not adequately understood at the warehouse. These include inspecting whether the product is of the perceived quality such as authenticity of a product and also whether the dock capacity has been exceeded so that no additional products can be delivered for storage in the stores. There has also not been adequate monitoring of determining factors for dock requirements such as: arrival times, the shipping vehicles, loading times, and breakdown requirements. Another area that is found to be challenging in the operation of the warehouse is that security measures have not been taken and there is concern regarding the safety of products in the warehouse. Despite lack of the mandate to possess a tight control of the inventory, it is required that the warehouse should be involved in the activity.


The main recommendation of inbound transport processes is that the company should create a gate for entry into the warehouse and another gate for exit from the warehouse so that there is no interference in the movements of trucks in and out of the stores. The main recommendation for inbound movements is that there should be more entrances and exits which enable loading of a number of trucks at a time. This will ensure time take to load trucks is reduced while the number of cartons loaded and offloaded at a particular time will increase. Another recommendation is that the racking system should enable the use of portable racks that can be moved by the loaders of cartons so that actual handling of individual cartons is prevented.

The main recommendation for the processes in the warehouse is that there should be increased use of bins, cabinets and storage lockers during storage of products of different kinds so that they can be accessed when needed. In addition, the objective of keeping things moving during removal from the warehouse can be achieved by use of devices such as cartons and mailers, protective packing equipment and scales. The use of shipping labels should be implemented so that products can be easily identified when needed.

A Blueprint for one of the Processes

The following is the blueprint for the processes of storage and dispatch of goods in the warehouse.

The Customer Actions include: The packing of products bought from the company into their vehicles and signing the documents indicating the receipt of the goods.

The front stage Actions include: The employees of the company engage in face-to-face interactions with customers to ensure the

The Backstage Actions include:

Support Processes include:

Physical Evidences include:


This paper shows that Cole Distribution Center is an efficient warehouse in the manner in which it was designed by Vaughan Constructions Limited. It is found that the man capabilities of the warehouse include its closeness to major highways that enables trucks to move in and out of the warehouse so that products can be delivered and dispatched, it has spacious rooms that enable storage of a large amount of merchandise such as cartons and its functions are facilitated with the use of cranes, cabinets and racks where goods stored in the stores can be placed. This paper also shows that Cole Distribution center has adequate lighting and heating which is important in keeping the quality of goods stored in addition to providing the users of the warehouse with the ability to see. The main recommendations for improvement of operation of the warehouse is that more entrances should be created so that trucks can access the warehouse from different directions and reduce congestion during transportation of products into and out of the warehouse. It is also suggested that the management of the warehouse should enhance the use of bins, cabinets and storage lockers in the storage of products. It is speculated that if these recommendations are applied, it will be possible to improve the efficiency in the use of the warehouse.


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