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2017 Warehouse/DC Operations Survey: In the thick of e-commerce adjustments

As e-commerce fulfillment pressure continues to climb, our annual survey points to the many changes taking hold—from more investment in automated approaches to piece picking, more use of robotics, increased interest in throughput metrics and general process improvement.

By ·

During the adaptation of industry trends, there comes a point when you pass the early stages of adjustment and dive into really doing things differently. Our “2017 Warehouse and Distribution Center (DC) Operations Survey” shows us an industry that’s now in the midst of that change—and we’re getting into the thick of e-commerce adjustments.

The tweaks include more investments in automated order picking, voice-directed systems and other technology. We’re also seeing pain points continue to swell; foremost among these is the struggle to find qualified workers. Also emerging are data that suggest respondents may be reshaping their DC networks with smaller facilities to serve as fulfilment centers closer to the point of demand.

The survey, conducted annually by Peerless Research Group (PRG), drew more than 300 responses this year from professionals in logistics and warehouse operations management across multiple verticals. One of the clearest data points, and the issue that is likely driving change of many types, is the level of e-commerce involvement, according to Don Derewecki, a senior consultant with St. Onge Company, and Norm Saenz, Jr., a managing director with St. Onge, a supply chain engineering consulting company and partner for this annual survey.

In fact, 19% of respondents now say they do omni-channel fulfillment, up 3% from last year, while 37% say they do e-commerce, up by 2% from last year. This steady growth in e-commerce and all the pressures that brings around piece picking, labor management, and cycles times, is driving deep change for respondents, notes Derewecki.

This complete article is available to subscribers only. Log in now for full access or start your PLUS+ subscription for instant access.

By ·

During the adaptation of industry trends, there comes a point when you pass the early stages of adjustment and dive into really doing things differently. Our “2017 Warehouse and Distribution Center (DC) Operations Survey” shows us an industry that’s now in the midst of that change—and we’re getting into the thick of e-commerce adjustments.

The tweaks include more investments in automated order picking, voice-directed systems and other technology. We’re also seeing pain points continue to swell; foremost among these is the struggle to find qualified workers. Also emerging are data that suggest respondents may be reshaping their DC networks with smaller facilities to serve as fulfilment centers closer to the point of demand.

The survey, conducted annually by Peerless Research Group (PRG), drew more than 300 responses this year from professionals in logistics and warehouse operations management across multiple verticals. One of the clearest data points, and the issue that is likely driving change of many types, is the level of e-commerce involvement, according to Don Derewecki, a senior consultant with St. Onge Company, and Norm Saenz, Jr., a managing director with St. Onge, a supply chain engineering consulting company and partner for this annual survey.

In fact, 19% of respondents now say they do omni-channel fulfillment, up 3% from last year, while 37% say they do e-commerce, up by 2% from last year. This steady growth in e-commerce and all the pressures that brings around piece picking, labor management, and cycles times, is driving deep change for respondents, notes Derewecki.

 

 

 


About the Author

Roberto Michel
Roberto Michel, an editor at large for Modern Materials Handling (MMH), has covered manufacturing and supply chain management trends since 1986, mainly as a former staff editor and former contributor at Manufacturing Business Technology. He has been a contributor to MMH since 2004. He has worked on numerous show dailies, including at ProMat, the North American Material Handling Logistics show, and National Manufacturing Week. He can be reached at [email protected]

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