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2012 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey: Mixed signals

A record response reveals that readership is divided in terms of investment: one side remains cautious, while the other is on the verge of making significant changes to their warehouse/DC operations. How have your operations emerged from the Great Recession?
By Maida Napolitano, Contributing Editor
November 01, 2012

The multi-channel effect
For the first time, we decided to track how companies use market channels—or how they make product available to their customers.

Most of the respondents (84 percent) report servicing more than one channel: 67 percent report shipping to wholesalers; 57 percent to retailers; and 29 percent are e-commerce based, shipping products directly to customers.

“I would be most interested in tracking e-commerce penetration over the coming years,” says Derewecki. “It seems that despite what industry our clients are in, if they are not using the Internet now, they have a plan to get into it.” He notes that more consumers are now using brick-and-mortar stores merely as “showrooms” to see a particular model, confirm its looks and functions, but then head back home to compare costs among web retailers before ordering that model online. 

How are multi-channel respondents fulfilling their orders? Forty percent are filling their orders themselves from one main DC, designating separate areas for retail or e-commerce or scheduling specific pick waves for certain channels.

“Almost 25 percent of respondents have already decided to put it in a separate DC,” notes Saenz. “It would be interesting to see how these results change as each channel grows. I predict more separate DCs and the use of more third-party logistics providers.”


About the Author

Maida Napolitano
Contributing Editor

Maida Napolitano has worked as a Senior Engineer for various consulting companies specializing in supply chain, logistics, and physical distribution since 1990. She’s is the principal author for the following publications: Using Modeling to Solve Warehousing Problems (WERC); Making the Move to Cross Docking (WERC); The Time, Space & Cost Guide to Better Warehouse Design (Distribution Group); and Pick This! A Compendium of Piece-Pick Process Alternatives (WERC). She has worked for clients in the food, health care, retail, chemical, manufacturing and cosmetics industries, primarily in the field of facility layout and planning, simulation, ergonomics, and statistic analysis. She holds BS and MS degrees in Industrial Engineering from the University of the Philippines and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, respectively. She can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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