2013 Warehouse/DC Survey—Managing a “barely budging budget”

Every November we step inside the warehouse and distribution center (DC) facilities of Logistics Management readers to get a better look at how the activities and processes inside the four walls are affecting their overall logistics and supply chain operations.

By ·

Every November we step inside the warehouse and distribution center (DC) facilities of Logistics Management readers to get a better look at how the activities and processes inside the four walls are affecting their overall logistics and supply chain operations.

Starting on page 48, Contributing Editor Maida Napolitano, a warehouse and distribution professional herself, takes a deep dive into the findings of Peerless Research Group’s (PRG) annual Warehouse and DC Operations Survey, the clearest view available of how U.S. facilities are being run. This year the survey received 530 qualified responses from operations managers, to upper-level managers, all the way to CEOs—all personally involved in decisions at the warehouse and facility level.

As Napolitano reports, we were somewhat surprised to find that, despite the positive vibes that U.S. business started feeling about a year ago, respondents are still stuck in the era of “barely budging budgets” that we saw solidified in the results gleaned during the recession.

“As the economy has been slow to recover, it’s become clear that reducing operating and transportation costs continues to be top priority,” says Napolitano. “However, managers are now under more pressure than ever to improve service levels with little to no capital to spend for improvements. This is a conflict of ideals that we saw develop five years ago, and one we assumed would begin to slightly erode this year.”

But that wasn’t the case. However, one could argue that this recently developed fiscal discipline is a good thing.

In fact, our findings reveal that the market will continue to witness the evolution of the logistics professional, one who has become more of a strategist, willing to carry out initiatives that don’t demand major systems changes and require little capital investment. They’re squeezing the best out of what they have, improving warehouse and DC processes, looking to step up inventory control, and sitting down with carriers—and even competitors—to maximize existing DC networks.

“It’s refreshing to see a significant number of respondents taking multiple actions to keep costs in check without major investment,” says Don Derewecki, senior business consultant at TranSystems, LM’s partner for this survey over the past eight years. “They’re taking time to ask customers to order less frequently, but in larger quantities, or using 3PL warehouses to get closer to customers.”

“There is no magic bullet,” says Norm Saenz, senior vice president and principal of TranSystems. “Whether opening new DCs, turning to a 3PL, or renegotiating with freight carriers, results show that there’s no one prominent answer.”

If you have specific questions or would like to go even deeper into the results to see how your peers are managing the “barely budging budget,” join me, Derewecki, and Saenz in our annual Warehouse and DC Operations Survey Webcast that will go live on Thursday, November 21 at 2:00 p.m. ET. Register now at logisticsmgmt.com/wdc_2013survey.


About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
5 Catalysts to Outsource Logistics
Today’s consumer-driven retail strategies are making it more difficult than ever to run an efficient, cost-effective supply chain. Consider the following five challenges that supply chain leaders will have to overcome in order to be effective in coming years – and why these challenges are acting as catalysts to engage with third-party logistics providers for supply chain expertise.
Download Today!
From the July 2016 Issue
While it’s currently a shippers market, the authors of this year’s report contend that we’ve entered a “period of transition” that will usher in a realignment of capacity, lower inventories, economic growth and “moderately higher” rates. It’s time to tighten the ties that bind.
2016 State of Logistics: Third-party logistics
2016 State of Logistics: Ocean freight
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Getting the most out of your 3PL relationship
Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
2016 Quest for Quality: Winners Take the Spotlight
Which carriers, third-party logistics providers and U.S. ports have crossed the service-excellence...
Regional ports concentrate on growth and connectivity
With the Panama Canal expansion complete, ocean cargo gateways in the Caribbean are investing to...

Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....
Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...