When it comes to distribution center operations, things don’t always go as planned. But working with an experienced, flexible, full-service Distribution Center Management (DCM) partner can save your company time, money and hassles when normal operations are disrupted.
Expect the Unexpected
Logistics executives are well aware of the perils that can interrupt their careful planning. In fact, they’ve seen several of them recently in full force. Global supply chain interruptions, labor shortages and natural disasters have all disrupted warehouse and distribution operations around the U.S. in the past year.
In addition to these near-ruinous calamities, there are many more mundane issues that pop up with more frequency — IT problems, warehouse equipment out of service, volume fluctuations and order timing changes, to name a few. All of these circumstances can throw your distribution center off its normal cadence, impacting operational efficiency.
The right DCM provider can help see you through these disruptions and keep your warehouse running smoothly. Here’s how:
Consider inventory fluctuations. You can plan for seasonal increases or decreases, but chances are, you will also experience inventory fluctuations for other reasons throughout the year. Doing nothing is not an option. A full warehouse is unproductive and can even be unsafe, and the opposite — a lack of inventory — impacts labor utilization and efficiency.
The key here is forward thinking, working with your DCM provider to design contingency plans to handle inventory volume. This might include warehouse reconfiguration, material flow planning, reviewing processing capacity and deploying personnel at other sites.
Think about labor issues — both the lack of labor in the market and the wage increases the industry has seen over the last 18 months. Both have caused major disruptions for many shippers.
Experienced DCM providers have been plugged into the labor market for years, watching trends, creating compelling career opportunities and benefits packages, and setting wages to the market. If more labor is needed in a certain location, they can make that happen fast. If less labor is needed, they can quickly redeploy their warehouse workers elsewhere.
Remember, labor management and utilization is a core competency for top-notch DCM providers. When you’re working with a first-rate DCM provider providing contract labor, the workforce is their problem, not yours.
Now consider operational disruptions, big and small. For example, you need additional trucking capacity or are adding additional sites that require support. You have an increase in same day/next day orders. You have a special project that requires kitting and packing. You need overflow space.
When you partner with a company that not only provides DCM but also other transportation and related services, these issues go from “headache” to “handled.” A multifaceted, full-service logistics provider can draw on a range of resources to manage these unexpected needs, and will welcome the opportunity to assist you in reaching your goals.
Work with DCM Experts
How can you win in your warehouse despite disruptions? Work with a DCM team with expertise in all aspects of distribution center efficiency, from labor to strategic and contingency planning. Look for a partner that has managed distribution centers through market highs and lows — and unexpected circumstances — and can essentially “disruption-proof” your warehouses by providing expert, proven solutions.
When you have confidence in your DCM partner and know that your distribution centers are well managed, you can focus on your core business and future success.
At Covenant, our team is expert at managing all aspects of distribution center management, including the daily occurrences that can disrupt your operations. Let’s talk about how we can help you keep your distribution centers running smoothly.