“That’s a predominant statistic,” says Norm Saenz, senior vice president and principal of TranSystems, a supply chain consulting firm and our partner for this survey. “It supports how tough economic times have controlled spending to less than $250,000 for a majority of respondents. That’s only good for minor improvements to operations, such as racking or the purchase of a lift truck, versus opening a new facility or implementing new technologies.”
However, Don Derewecki, senior management consultant also from TranSystems, prefers to focus on the other end of the spectrum: those 17% of respondents who are spending $1 million or more this year, and another 16% planning to spend that same amount next year.
“That’s for significant projects—an indicator that companies are doing more than just replacing worn out equipment,” says Derewecki. “These stronger companies have diligent managers who have probably been continuously shaving points off their operating costs over the past few years. By now all the low hanging fruit is gone, so they’re starting to get more aggressive and finally looking to squeeze the trigger on investments in mechanization and automation.”
Over the next few pages, we’ll dig into the high-level findings of the 2012 Warehouse and Distribution Center (DC) Operations Survey to share more detail on how the warehousing and distribution landscape has changed over the past year. This year we’ve updated portions of the survey to capture emerging trends while continuing to track the critical measures of warehousing activities we’ve charted over the past six years. Let’s see how your operations compare to what your peers are doing inside the four walls.
Read last year’s survey.
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The Institute for Supply Management’s (ISM) August edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business saw its PMI, the ISM’s index to measure growth, fall 1.6 percent to 51.1, following a 0.8 percent decline to 52.7 in July. Even with the relatively slow growth over the last two months, the PI has been at 50 or higher for 31 consecutive months.
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