Unistrut Building Systems - Business Consulting Project

Project Details

Project Client: Unistrut Building Systems
Project Description: Customer Order Fulfillment Process
Students: Tara Chapman, Michael Mak, and Nana Tamura
Term: Fall 2011
BCIT Program: Business Operations Management
Unistrut Building Systems is a distributor of the Unistrut Metal Framing System, a family of highly versatile and cost-effective construction components. With over 25 years of industry experience, Unistrut has continuously expanded on its inventory catalogue as well as customer base. The company is known for being a diversified supplier in the electrical, mechanical, pre-cast concrete and fabrication end markets in B.C.

The purpose of the project was to analyze the customer order fulfillment process within the company with the aim of improving order processing accuracy, increasing operating efficiency, reducing order processing time and reducing paper generation.

After examining the process, two key symptoms were identified that when addressed, would help the firm achieve the aforementioned objectives. The symptoms were uneven order flow between the order desk and warehouse, as well as an excess amount of paper being generated.

Utilizing process improvement methods such as root-cause analyses, staff interviews, job shadowing as well as process mapping, the team identified three recommendations that would assist the firm in reducing paper generation, increase operating efficiency and reduce processing time. Order processing accuracy was found to be a rare and infrequent occurrence and was not a focus of the recommendations.

More specifically, the three recommendations included placing a printer in the warehouse, converting printed sales orders and invoices to electronic copies for e-mail, as well as reorganizing the warehouse work desk space. The uneven order flow is reduced and streamlined as the printer and reorganization allows for orders to go directly to the warehouse. In addition, e-mailing the sales orders and invoices helped the firm reduce paper generation in the process by one-third.