DSC Logistics uses labor management to get the job done

3PL leader DSC Logistics revved up productivity with conventional processes driven by a labor management system.
image

(Above) Jim Chamberlain, director of industrial engineering.

By Bob Trebilcock, Executive Editor
September 17, 2010 - MMH Editorial

At Modern, we love automation. There is a wow factor about high-speed sortation, automated storage and retrieval systems, and automated guided vehicles. But we’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: The vast majority of warehouses, plants and DCs still get the job done with the same tools that have been serving the industry for the past 60 years, like pallet rack and lift trucks, all jazzed up with RF-driven picking.

Well, the same is true for thirdparty logistics providers (3PL). For a 3PL, it’s easier to bring in a new client when there’s no conveyor and sortation bolted to the ground, and it’s easier to scale labor up or down if demand spikes or contracts than it is to have idle automation. And, with 3PLs working on razor-thin margins, getting the most productivity out of those basic tools is important to winning new business and keeping existing customers.

That’s why DSC Logistics began rolling out a labor management system (RedPrairie, 877-733-7724) in 2005. Given the importance of labor to DSC’s business, the goals for the system were relatively simple, says Jim Chamberlain, director of industrial engineering. “As a 3PL provider, labor is the biggest component of our business,” Chamberlain says. “Our ability to manage that labor could be seen as a differentiator.”



About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Executive Editor

Bob Trebilcock, executive editor, has covered materials handling, technology and supply chain topics for Modern Materials Handling since 1984. More recently, Trebilcock became editorial director of Supply Chain Management Review. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.


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!

Recent Entries

Following the lead of its Congressional Colleagues in the House of Representatives, the United States Senate yesterday approved a measure geared to keep federal surface transportation funding intact through the end of December with a nearly $11 billion stopgap fix.

XPO Logistics announced second quarter earnings and the acquisition of two companies, New Breed Logistics, a non asset-based 3PL focusing in contract logistics services, for roughly $615 million, and Atlantic Central Logistics, a 3PL provider of last-mile logistics services, for roughly $36.5 million.

The report, entitled “Outlook for the Domestic Transport and Logistics Market in 2H14 and Beyond,” takes the view that strong freight levels in the second quarter have left trucking companies in a good position: one in which they need to come up with new plans to handle rising demand. But even with that positive momentum afloat, the report observes that there are some familiar challenges intact, such as a lack of qualified drivers and the regulatory drag from the new hours-of-service rules that took effect in July 2013.

Flags of Convenience are a fact of life in the commercial maritime trade, but several European political action groups are worried that they will pose a threat to the Continent’s air cargo industry.

For May, which is the most recent month for which data is available, the SCI is -7.5, following April’s -7.5. FTR said this reading represents a still-tight capacity environment, as utilization rates hover between 98 percent and 99 percent.

Article Topics

· Warehouses · RedPrairie · Labor Management · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.