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Our Client is a specialty retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers and entertainment software. With eight locations in the Greater Toronto Area, our Client expanded across Canada, opening more stores in Ontario, and entering new markets in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Their retail stores are serviced by two distribution centers (DC’s) in Langley, British Columbia and Brampton, Ontario where the efficient management of these two DC’s is critical to the overall profitability of the company. PVA was brought in to develop and install enhanced management behaviors, Management Operating Systems (MOS), and better operating processes and procedures in the two DC’s.


  • Increasing throughput at the Distribution Centers to absorb growth from the retail stores.
  • Reducing operating costs.
  • Improving safety, quality and internal service indicators.
  • Improving employee communication and morale.

Assessment Findings

Logistics Warehousing Assessment Findings

  • Work Time

  • Non-effective Time

  • Pickers losing time looking for the products not at the correct locations in the DC.
  • Pickers incorrectly scanning products which negatively impacted item counts in their locator system and inventory levels.
  • Warehouse product locations were not being replenished for picking activity.
  • Double and triple handling of pallets and freight on the receiving and shipping docks.
  • Ineffective skills displayed by the pickers when placing products in carts resulting in goods falling onto the floor.
  • Pickers driving the “wrong” way in the aisles resulting in congestion in the warehouse, as well as receiving docks and shipping areas.
  • Rework in the loading area caused by re-stacking skids, consolidating skids, and re-wrapping skids.
  • The work activity standards were “loose” and hid inefficiencies when used in planning of the resources.
  • When the Supervisors were on-the-floor they were not actively managing their resources (assigning work with expectations, effective follow-up or variance reporting).
  • Supervisors were not asking questions of their employees to understand the reasons for inefficiencies in the warehouse operations.
  • Operating problems, non-value added time and performance issues were hidden in the process and were now part of the daily work activities that was taking place in all areas.
  • Supervisors spent the majority of their time doing administrative activities or manual work themselves, instead of proactively managing their employees.
  • Supervisors believed that simply walking through their areas throughout the day was effective supervision.

PVA's Response

  • Developed standards and work performance criteria for all functional activities.
  • Matched and balanced crewing requirements to volume profiles.
  • Improved labor allocations and costs through improved planning and scheduling processes.
  • Improved inter-and intra-departmental resource utilization (labor and equipment).
  • Optimized the order picking, receiving and shipping processes.
  • Provided training and on-the-floor performance coaching of the Supervisors in their work environments.
  • Significantly increased the levels of active supervision being performed by the Supervisors.
  • Designed and implemented Management Operating Systems (MOS) to manage opportunities and solutions.
  • Implemented effective problem solving tools such as prioritization, root cause analysis, and costing of opportunities.

The Results

Hover over graphs for more information

  • 25% reduction in check line cycle times.
  • 5% reduction in inventory carrying costs.
  • 50% reduction in order to delivery cycle time.
  • 30% improvement in equipment uptime and reliability.
  • 35% improvement in throughput per labor hour.
  • 35% improvement in labor productivity.
  • 50% reduction in overtime levels.
  • 30% reduction in claims levels.

Increase in Supervisory Activities

Logistics Warehousing Supervisory Activities

5% 0% 40% 3% 52%
45% 3% 32% 0% 20%
  • Active Supervision
  • Training
  • Administration
  • Manual Work
  • Available

Increase In Pieces Per Hours Worked

Logistics Warehousing Pieces Per Hours Worked

Increase in Overall Performance by Period

Logistics Warehousing Overall Performance by Period

Long Term Work Continuation

  • A Client Coordinator was trained and certified during the PVA engagement.
  • A quarterly audit program of the new Management Operating System was developed and implemented with the Coordinator.
  • PVA conducted audits over 18 months to ensure compliance to the continued utilization of the Management Operating Systems.
  • These Audits resulted in recommendations and action plans to further identify additional opportunities for improving operations.

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The Shift Start Meeting is a great tool. It allows us to know how well we performed and to find out how we can continually make ourselves more effective.


We had all the theory but you (PVA) stood by us in the trenches and made this happen.

Distribution Center Manager

Our last project set out to expand our business five-fold and five years later was seen as a total failure. PVA in a few weeks has changed the foundation of our company and attained what seemed impossible a few months ago.