2012 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey: Mixed signals
After years of slow economic progress, the results of the Supply Chain Group’s 2012 Warehouse and Distribution Center (DC) Operations Survey show two schools of thought emerging from the ashes: There are those companies that remain cautious, staying conventional with minimal plans for expansion; and there are those on the verge of making significant investments and changes to their distribution operations.
Designed to gauge activities and trends in warehousing and DCs, our annual survey offers a first-hand look into the state of today’s DC and warehouse operations. In September, a survey questionnaire was sent via email invitation to Supply Chain Group subscribers. The survey gleaned 805 qualified responses (a new record for this survey) from upper-level managers to CEOs—all personally involved in decisions regarding their company’s warehouse and DC operations.
Most participating companies came from manufacturing (44%), followed by distributors (28%), third-party providers (9%) and retailers (8%). An assortment of products handled in the DC was once again well-represented with food and grocery leading the pack at 11%, followed by industrial/chemical at 10%, and electronics and building materials, tied for third, at 8% each.
This year’s findings revealed mixed signals coming from opposite ends of the spectrum. About 52% of respondents are adopting a more cautious approach, spending less than $250,000 for warehousing equipment and technology in 2012.