Is your distribution center relevant in today’s marketplace?  Are you one of many companies looking to go direct to consumers through the internet to compete with industry giants such as Amazon? If so, you ‘re aware of the challenges: consumers are conditioned by the big players to expect rocket-fast delivery times, as well as impeccable, 5-star customer service. Is your warehouse or DC up to the task?
Keeping relevant in the marketplace is no simple undertaking, as the unique demands of e-commerce can often complicate order picking, thus slowing down the order fulfillment process. Add to that a labor shortage, with the pressure to minimize costs while maintaining profit levels, and you have complex dynamic.
To stay relevant in today ‘s marketplace you will likely have to make changes to your DC. And whether this means a retrofit, or a totally new design, reinventing your DC means getting your warehouse system right. So where do you start?

Evaluation Phase

First, start with evaluating the existing facility to identify the existing constraints. Some of the constraints of your existing facility may include:
1. Working capital
2. Space limitations
3. Labor availability
4. Technical ability of labor
5. Age of equipment
6. Information systems

Planning Phase

Validate the best design through data and metrics:
1. Establish key performance indicators
2. Thorough analysis of operations data
3. Evaluate processes and functional areas
4. Analyze each functional area independently of the others
5. Start assembling the process on paper through conceptual facilities layout
3. This phase concludes with assessing two to three potential facility concepts

Design Phase

1. Refine one to three concepts derived in the planning stage.
2. Work with the building architect to develop detailed drawings of the facility
and the system.
3. Detailed equipment layouts should be configured.
4. Anticipate future plans for both systems and facility
5.Include a plan for integrating automation systems, process engineering, material handling engineering, meeting compliance program requirements and objective vendor selection.
6. Comparing the relative cost/benefit differences of each concept will ultimately yield the final

Testing Phase

Simulation software is a new procedure used more and more, to test and visualize new warehousing projects. Many experts believe simulation should be used when new processes are introduced; if it is a high-volume or complex picking environment that requires components to come together at the consolidation area at the right time; when new rules from a WMS system are being implemented; and in a high-volume facility where there are deadlines. Simulation is not the right tool for every warehouse design or redesign project.
There are three major aspects of a DC processing system that require testing to
confirm its performance and ensure success:
1.Integration with external systems, such as an ERP or a WMS
2. Proper WCS configuration
3. The MHE systems themselves
Click here to read “Top 5 Reasons to Use Warehouse Simulation Software.
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What are your warehousing challenges?  Next level can help you stay relevant in today’s market place with our innovative storage products and material handling services.  We work directly with logistics managers, engineers, & warehouse employees to determine the best possible solution for any given problem. We have developed the tools needed to get any job done right the first time. Call us today and let’s discuss a plan for keeping you relevant.