Gaining a Supply Chain Edge

Improving Fulfillment & Distribution Center Design with Material Handling: Stretch the 'Neck' of Your Supply Chain

I like to think of a fulfillment or distribution center (DC) as the “neck” of the supply chain. All the pieces of the supply chain that the end-customer sees, from ordering to shipment to delivery, are the “face” of the supply chain.

But the neck -- well, the neck can move the face any way it wants. Just like in your supply chains, the efficiency of a DC is often the crucial factor in determining how good (or bad) things will continue.

Tompkins latest report talks about just that. The New Rules of Material Handling in the DC analyzes this ever-evolving piece of the supply chain and how new demands affect material handling equipment (MHE) design and IT architecture.

Consider questions such as, “How will e-retailing and other direct-to-consumer strategies affect my inventory?” And, “How can I effectively think about sales and operations planning in this economic climate?”

To answer these types of questions, the report shares a new set of techniques that combine short-term, mid-term, and long-term scenario planning.

For a truly successful DC and MHE design, follow these four steps:

  1. Analyze and evaluate operational data
  2. Define requirements
  3. Identify and document alternatives
  4. Evaluate and recommend the best approach

Read the full paper to not only learn more about these steps, but also discover various material handling options, from physical design to IT systems.

Maybe it’s time to “stretch your neck” and look at how you can improve your DC design to meet the challenges facing business today.

Best,

Jim

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