Portrait of a Best-in-Class Warehouse

March 7, 2008
New study says warehouse improvement is being driven by the high cost and low availability of warehouse labor.

In its recent study of more than 550 warehousing and distribution operations, analyst firm Aberdeen Group determined that the top pressure driving warehouse improvement at companies deemed "best-in-class" is the high cost and low availability of warehouse labor. While companies said to be "average" or "laggards" are hard pressed just to meet their customer service objectives, the best-in-class firms have moved beyond this struggle and are now concentrating on operational efficiency.

So how does a company achieve this "best-in-class" status? Aberdeen Group offers the following PACE (pressures, actions, capabilities and enablers) scenario to explain the process that goes from identifying a problem to identifying the solution.

Pressures

  • High cost and/or low availability of warehouse labor

Actions

  • Improve warehouse throughput
  • Reduce or contain warehouse labor costs

Capabilities

  • Bin-level location management
  • Paperless receiving
  • Real-time put-away and stock moves
  • Order picking with mobile devices
  • Incremental cycle-counting

Enablers

  • Warehouse management software
  • Wireless networking in the warehouse
  • Mobile warehouse devices (handheld computers, bar code scanners, wearable computers)

Source: Aberdeen Group

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