Before going live with a world class warehouse management solution, it is essential to have your warehouse staff well-trained and acquainted with the designed processes. An effective method to observe and analyse where you are in the go-live journey is to use DILO: Day in the Life Of. This article explains what a DILO is, how to use it and when to use it.
DILO means Day In the Life Of and is a quality management observation and analysis tool that originates from the operational excellence mindset. Workers, or a group of workers, will work as instructed and throughout be observed by an observer. The observer makes a record of the workers’ operational activities. This is used to identify operational inefficiencies and gain insight into working methods. Furthermore, DILO is used to confirm the functional fit between the designed solution and the operational process execution prior to go-live.
DILO should be incorporated in the project plan from the start. It provides many advantages in terms of preparations and planning warehouse staff training. DILO is always embedded in the Supply Chain Junction project approach and part of the prepare phase of every implementation. Based on the specific business requirements, DILO is tailor made and prepared accordingly by our experts.
Figure 1: The SCJ experts giving instructions to the DC staff at a recent WMS implementation.
To get the most out of a DILO, it is key to go through a thorough preparation phase. DILO can take quite some time, so it is important to make it count. Use the following steps to be well prepared and gain great success from your DILO:
Figure 2: DILO process steps.1. Determine the scope. It is crucial to identify who, or which teams are going to be part of DILO. In addition, determine what activities, processes and other functions are going to take place. Make sure to set a time frame for DILO so that everything is covered until the desired extent. Generally, a longer time frame generates more accurate and representative output.
Figure 3: After sharing the DILO goals, the picking team was ready to go.
3. Define core activities. Identify the core activities during DILO. These activities can be categorized as Value Added (VA) and Non-Value Added (NVA). This helps with both setting the right priorities throughout DILO, as well as the process analysis after DILO.
4. Define detailed process steps. The participants of DILO must understand the process steps. Both workers and observers should be aware of the steps and sequence of activities. To support this, process steps can be printed and spread across the areas where the activities take place. It also helps the observer to take note of relevant actions.
5. Analyse the process. After DILO has been completed, it is time to analyse the observations. Was the operation running smoothly? Is there room to improve efficiency? Typically, the project team analyses what the biggest value-added activities were, and what the biggest non-value-added activities were. Based on this, processes can be polished before go-live.
6. Set up plan for improvement. The results from your analysis can be used to improve processes or get rid of non-value-added activities. Share the results with the DILO participants and discuss how to elevate the points of improvement. Getting inputs from both workers and observers has turned out to be extremely valuable in creating holistic process improvements.
Performing a DILO typically happens a couple of weeks before go-live. Depending on the complexity of the process, size of the operation and training of the workers, one or more DILO’s can be organised. Not all processes have to be observed in one DILO, it works out more effective to focus on a subset of processes at different stages during DILO. As mentioned before, a longer time frame for DILO can be beneficial for the usability of the output.
DILO is typically separated into an inbound portion and an outbound portion for a WMS implementation. This helps in keeping the DILO manageable and getting the right people involved. Users that were going to be involved in inbound were included in the inbound DILO and were able to ask questions as the processes were being executed.
Figure 4: End users get the opportunity to ask questions as they are executing.