Article

The best warehouse may be no warehouse

Warehouse Management Systems and Inventory Control WAREHOUSING

A full warehouse is a buffer between production throughput efficiency and customer service, or is it an excuse and a costly monument to supply chain ineffectiveness?


I WALK supply chains everywhere I go thinking customer service. Why? Not because I’m bored, but because every product or service you and I experience involves a supply chain. And I notice when service is missing. The cacophony of radio and media which shouts, “Try our service, we’re the best” turns me off. Empty promises easily made by those who don’t deliver. But, many down the chain have to deliver – I know, I’ve been ‘delivery’ most of my life.

I love walking warehouses, and they’re always full. But, is it all the right stuff or is it hiding hopeless planning and constrained coordination? Should I be staggered at efficiencies of put away, picking, packing and shipping, or is this effort expended to get delivery efficiency from a logistics stage that shouldn’t be there? Is this DC crammed with intentional overstocks to hold future margins high and not cost ease service delivery to customers and the economy? My stance is that warehouses are often not required today. Many are swollen with dead stock like working capital cemeteries, leaving little money or space for stock that protects customer service.

How to avoid a warehouse: apply your APICS knowledge; make it second nature, not second-hand.

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Written by: Doug Hunter, doug.hunter@za.syspro.com
Date: 01 May 2020

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