The Amazon Effect is creating elevated levels of stress in the warehousing and distribution world. The key question is how to provide immediate deliveries, customized service, easy returns, and more for a reduced cost – a very good question indeed!
A few considerations to ponder:
- Storage capacity – what is your storage capacity? How does that compare with your requirements? And how can you maximize what you can store in your warehouse?
- Flow – Are you running in circles around your warehouse to support your customers? Similar to a manufacturing environment, flow can be an essential ingredient to warehousing success – or not.
- Productivity – have you automated what makes sense and will increase your speed/ throughput? If it doesn’t improve speed (and accuracy) to your customers, is it really more productive? Similarly, is outsourcing truly more productive?
- Equipment – what equipment is built into your warehousing strategy? Would an upgrade provide a return on investment?
- Data – are you using predictive analytics and data analysis to make informed decisions to stay ahead of your competition?
- WMS tools – whether “poor man’s” or sophisticated, do you have a way to pick, put away and sort efficiently?
Inventory – don’t ever forget inventory. Without having the right product in the right place at the right time at the lowest system-wide inventory (and potentially end-to-end supply chain network inventory), what else will matter?
We have yet to come across a warehousing or distribution client that didn’t have at least a 20% improvement opportunity. Have you looked into your opportunities lately? Most likely your competition is! If you need help thinking through your warehousing and distribution strategy, contact us.