Secrets of the Smart Warehouse

Ten ways to think smarter about distribution center design.

By · March 21, 2012

The Rubik’s® Cube offers 43 quintillion possible arrangements of its pieces in search of a solution. Another type of 3-D mechanical puzzle is the distribution center “cube” or “box.” While its permutations do not extend to the nth power, they are nevertheless considerable, as the combination of architecture, mechanical systems, controls and software lead to decision-making conundrums squared and cubed.

Whether addressing the Rubik’s Cube riddle or the distribution center puzzle, the use of mathematical algorithms is key to finding a correct solution. With the latter, however, it requires more than the consistent application of complex calculations. Unlike the Rubik’s Cube, the distribution center is dynamic, with the need to adapt to changing market opportunities, competitive pressures, product mix, technology and other variables, especially those unforeseen. Data-driven analysis and metrics alone are insufficient. They must be tempered with experience in the day-to-day operation of a distribution center and its all too surprising vagaries.


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!

Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the January 2017 Issue
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using labor more productively. The bottom line: A two-year ROI.
Double Up on Labor Efficiencies
7 Warehouse E-commerce Best Practices for 2017
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...
System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...

System Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...