istrib ution centers (DCs) should operate much like an orchestra, says Tom Moore, chief executive officer with AutoScheduler, which offers intelligent warehouse orchestration solutions. During a performance, each instrument plays in concert with the others. Distribution center technology and equipment working in harmony can keep any supply chain sharp. By Karen Kroll It should be the same in a resilient, responsive distribution center. “You want everyone to do their part when they’re supposed to,” Moore says. For instance, when a truck loaded with products arrives at the dock door, employees should be ready and able to unload it. Of course, distribution centers face constraints and challenges that differ from those facing musicians. They have a set number of dock doors and employees, and only so much space for inventory. The continued proliferation of stock- keeping units (SKUs) means it’s nearly impossible for even the sharpest humans to efficiently track all items, making automation increasingly essential. Labor and driver shortages and shipping delays add more obstacles. In addition, store replenishment times have tightened and become more frequent, and more consist of split cases, as growing numbers of retailers use their stores to fill e-commerce orders, says Reuben Scriven, senior analyst with Interact Analysis.
May 2022 • Inbound Logistics 45
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