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 · November 1, 2012

2012 DC network profile
The profile of this year’s distribution network remains mostly the same as the past few years.

Sixty percent of respondents operate less than 250,000 square feet of space in their distribution network, with most common clear heights of 20 to 29 feet. Derewecki predicts that, over time, the mix is going to shift towards taller, higher buildings. “Lift truck technology is making higher buildings very practical,” he says. “Newer, double-deep reach trucks, for example, can lift to a height of over 36 feet.” 

Seventy percent of respondents report undertaking some kind of distribution network optimization and location studies, mostly on an “as-needed” basis. As a result of these studies, half of respondents (50 percent) report “moving inventory among warehouses” as it is the easiest and quickest option among all the other network improvement actions. For those adding DCs as a result of these studies, most cite “improved customer service” (70 percent) and “the penetration of new markets” (36 percent) as their top two drivers.

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About the Author

Maida Napolitano
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 [email protected]

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