WDC Special Report: Three ways to prepare for growth, while containing costs

We asked a panel with more than 75 years combined experience in logistics and distribution to identify three warehouse/DC best practices that improve the distribution network, reduce the work, and leverage the most important asset in any organization—its people.

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Economic conditions may be much improved from the dismal depths from which they emerged, but we’re not quite out of the woods yet. A status quo of high unemployment, sagging consumer demand, and lingering financial constraints has kept controlling costs the prevailing theme in warehouse and distribution management.

As Vice President of IT Business Systems for Tommy Hilfiger USA, Inc. and president of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), Bob Silverman says he’s seeing this scenario play out firsthand. “The recession has forced companies to do more with less, and often capital isn’t available,” he says. “Even when a solid ROI can be demonstrated with a project that would improve distribution operations, the project sponsor can’t get it funded.”

Ann Elliott, CEO of Solertis Logistics Consulting, agrees that money remains tight across the board. “Many operations have been challenged to perform with fewer people and a smaller payroll.” Unfortunately, a smaller team can sometimes compromise the ability for a company to provide the highest levels of service that customers have been expecting.

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About the Author

Maida Napolitano
Maida Napolitano has worked as a Senior Engineer for various consulting companies specializing in supply chain, logistics, and physical distribution since 1990. She’s is the principal author for the following publications: Using Modeling to Solve Warehousing Problems (WERC); Making the Move to Cross Docking (WERC); The Time, Space & Cost Guide to Better Warehouse Design (Distribution Group); and Pick This! A Compendium of Piece-Pick Process Alternatives (WERC). She has worked for clients in the food, health care, retail, chemical, manufacturing and cosmetics industries, primarily in the field of facility layout and planning, simulation, ergonomics, and statistic analysis. She holds BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively. She can be reached at [email protected]

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From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
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