At Modern, we love automation. There is a wow factor about high-speed sortation, automated storage and retrieval systems, and automated guided vehicles. But we’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: The vast majority of warehouses, plants and DCs still get the job done with the same tools that have been serving the industry for the past 60 years, like pallet rack and lift trucks, all jazzed up with RF-driven picking.
Well, the same is true for thirdparty logistics providers (3PL). For a 3PL, it’s easier to bring in a new client when there’s no conveyor and sortation bolted to the ground, and it’s easier to scale labor up or down if demand spikes or contracts than it is to have idle automation. And, with 3PLs working on razor-thin margins, getting the most productivity out of those basic tools is important to winning new business and keeping existing customers.
That’s why DSC Logistics began rolling out a labor management system (RedPrairie, 877-733-7724) in 2005. Given the importance of labor to DSC’s business, the goals for the system were relatively simple, says Jim Chamberlain, director of industrial engineering. “As a 3PL provider, labor is the biggest component of our business,” Chamberlain says. “Our ability to manage that labor could be seen as a differentiator.”
About the Author
Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.
Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling magazine
Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today
Effectively serving contemporary e-commerce demands of smaller, more frequent orders requires AS/RS technology designed for optimal storage volume, speed, flexibility and scalability.
Vocollect solutions are attractive because payback is typically 9-12 months and mobile workers appreciate being equipped to succeed in their job, boosting worker retention.
The company now has a network of eight regional service training centers across North America dedicated to training programs for Crown customers, dealers and employees.
This follows the opening of a London office earlier this year, and strengthens the company’s global presence in North America, Mexico, Latin America, Europe and South Africa.
As increasing awareness of environmental concerns permeates business operations, savvy companies are responding to customer, competitor and regulatory pressures to enhance their sustainability efforts.