As companies and consumers continue to become more demanding, the warehouse/distribution center (DC) becomes more important to the company's overall strategy. Most organizations face challenges such as:
- Reduced lead-times
- Smaller shipment sizes
- More frequent orders/deliveries
- JIT delivery schedules
- Compliance labeling
- SKU proliferation
- Increased quality inspection requirements
- Near perfect inventory accuracy
- Space limitations
While workloads continue to increase, management stresses the importance of controlling and even reducing costs.
Whether designing a new warehouse/DC or revamping an existing operation, it is critical to understand what functions the warehouse/DC will perform:
- Does the operation handle non-standard product and/or product configurations?
- Will the operation perform cross-docking, flow thru, or other inventory strategies?
- How will product demand patterns be handled (fast movers versus slow movers, seasonality, etc.)
- What value-added services will the operation perform (returns management, kitting, value-added labeling, etc.)?
- Can the existing software and/or equipment handle the new design?
The answers to these and other questions will greatly impact the design/redesign and cost/cost reduction of the operation