It's not the Academy Awards, but among warehouse managers, Chicago Consulting's annual "10 Best Warehouse Networks" list is just as eagerly anticipated. Now in its 21st year, the list uses the latest U.S. population statistics to determine which locations offer the lowest average distance and time to market for nationwide warehouse networks ranging from one to 10 facilities. For instance, if you're looking to serve the U.S. from a single facility, Vincennes, Ind., would provide the shortest time to market, with an average distance to customers of 806 miles and an average transit time of 2.28 days. For a five-facility network, the optimal configuration would have DCs in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Macon, Ga.; Chicago; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Porterville, Calif., which would result in an average distance to customers of 265 miles and an average transit time of 1.13 days.
This year, Chicago Consulting has added two new statistics to each of the entries. The first indicates the percentage of the U.S. population within 65 miles—close enough to guarantee same-day delivery. Not surprisingly, a single centralized warehouse could provide same-day service to only 0.5 percent of the U.S. population, while a network of 10 optimally located facilities could offer same-day service to 27 percent of the population. The second new statistic shows the percentage of the population within reach for next-day and second-, third-, and fourth-day delivery.
Principal Terry Harris cautioned that there's more to DC site selection than simply finding the location with the shortest time to market—factors like transportation, labor, and corporate strategy should also enter into the equation. Still, he said in a statement, businesses of all types continue to compete on swift responses to customers, and with some two-thirds of the U.S. economy driven by consumer spending, time to market continues to be a critical factor in site selection decisions.
To see the entire list, click here.