2012 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey: Mixed signals
November 01, 2012
Tracking previous trends
Recycling continues to dominate sustainability efforts at 76 percent. This year however, slightly more respondents are “reusing shipping containers” and “using metal and/or plastic pallets.”
Derewecki notes that he’s seeing more plastic pallets in use at pharmaceutical manufacturing because of FDA requirements. “Wherever you have a requirement of a sterile or cleanroom environment, then that’s one good way you can use reusable plastic pallets.”
Fortunately, fewer respondents (only 15 percent versus last year’s 28 percent) experienced catastrophic events this year compared to last year. Open-ended responses show many operations being hit by hurricanes and tornadoes; but to protect against these particular threats, survey takers have installed back-up generator and data retrieval systems, set plans in place to re-route demand to another DC, and have established multiple sources for parts and raw materials.
To reduce operating costs, “improving warehouse processes” (64 percent) and “improving inventory control” (61 percent) remains the top two actions preferred most by respondents. “It makes sense because both do not necessarily involve a high level of investment,” says Derewecki. “However, the better operators have already done all the process improvements that they can do without making capital investments. They are at the next stage. To improve, they may need to invest in mechanization and automation.”
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