When the deadliest hurricane ever to hit the United States plowed through Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 8, 1900, most of Galveston's citizens didn't know it was coming. The city was destroyed and many lives were lost. But there had been some early warning signs—it's just that few recognized the high winds and choppy seas in the far-off Atlantic Ocean as indications of approaching trouble.
There's a lesson there for distribution centers (DCs) and warehouses, where it's easy to miss the warning signs of an approaching "storm." To avoid getting caught unawares, experts advise DC managers to keep a close eye on their operations' performance, not only tracking changes over time and also periodically checking to see how it stacks up against the rest of the field.
But where do you get the benchmark data? One source is the annual DC and warehousing metrics study sponsored by the Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC) and DC Velocity in conjunction with Georgia Southern University and the consulting firm Supply Chain Visions. Now in its ninth year, the annual study looks at what metrics DC professionals use to evaluate their operations as well as trends in overall performance against those metrics. As part of the analysis, the results from hundreds of DCs and warehouses are aggregated to develop performance benchmarks.
In mid-January, DC Velocity and WERC will send an e-mail to WERC members and readers of the magazine inviting them fill out the survey questionnaire. Participants will receive a copy of the survey results; any company that submits results for more than five facilities in its network can also obtain an analysis of how those facilities are performing against each other and the industry as a whole.
So watch your e-mail for an invitation to participate in the study. For more information on the facility reports, contact Joseph Tillman.