Here in the UK we appear to making noises about increased demand for warehouse space and the short-sighted under-investment in construction that signals an upcoming five-year boom in the building of new sheds.
But it makes me wonder just how well our existing capacity is being used, because in my experience people speak about being “full” when they’re actually just clogged up.
In spite of my criticism of over-reliance on rules of thumb, my thumb tells me that DCs feel “full” when they’re at about 80% of the capacity at which they can still work efficiently. The problems are almost always that stuff is in either in the wrong place or is held in the wrong quantity at a particular location (which in turn means that the rack-size may be sub-optimal). In this latter case, it’s also possible that the wrong type of picking operation is used because of the rack type so, for example, it might make sense to add shelving and pick to rollers in totes or cartons in a dedicated area of the warehouse.
The hardest thing – when your daily focus is shipping as much as possible as accurately as possible – is to take a step back, inhale deeply and figure out if there are better ways of doing now what used to seem so efficient in the past.
And that’s where you need a bit of help from software that doesn’t care how complex is your product mix, your customer profile, your demand variability or your company’s penchant for new product introductions.
The best strategic location for your next expansion might be exactly where you are right now.
Before you make any plans for new builds, please take a look at whether you can squeeze another 10 or 20 percent out of your existing operations. And if you need help, just ask.