With this January 2022 issue, DC Velocity begins our 20th year of publishing. We have been presenting “Logistics solutions for distribution center management,” as it says on the magazine’s cover, since our inaugural issue appeared in January 2003.
I was not with the magazine then, as I joined the team the following year. So, I thought it would be interesting to look at that first issue and compare what was happening then with where supply chains are today.
It would be an understatement to say that the industry in 2022 is radically different from what it was in 2003. Supply chain professionals were wondering then if any company could ever challenge Walmart for supply chain dominance, given its size and apparently unstoppable power. This was just a few years removed from the dot-com bust, and Amazon was still a fairly young company—just one of many selling goods online. Few would have predicted the revolution that was to come and how it would change supply chains forever.
That first issue of DC Velocity} included stories on retail distribution, the benefits of visibility software, the effective management of customer returns, the difficulty in finding labor for new facilities, how to choose a shipping partner, and the potential for DCs to become supply chain differentiators, not just places to store inventory. These topics and needs are still very much with us today.
The news section in that first issue included a story on the industry’s economic prospects at a time when the nation was emerging from a recession. Material handling equipment sales had increased in the previous quarter but were still down 12% from the same period the year before. That parallels our current economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession, though the industry is much healthier overall this time around.
Another parallel to our pandemic times—and possibly a foreshadowing of them—was a story about how Orbis Corp. had just signed an agreement with Microban to incorporate its antimicrobial additives into Orbis’s reusable molded plastic containers, something we are seeing much more now with the need to sanitize our equipment.
Another story looked at how companies were beginning to move away from centralized distribution in favor of using smaller regional DCs. The aim was to decrease stockouts and boost customer service with faster response times. That is a direction in which distributors are still moving today, with added emphasis now on robotics, automation, and urban locations.
In their initial columns, then Chief Editor Peter Bradley, Publisher Jim Indelicato, and Editorial Director Mitch Mac Donald stressed the need for speed (hence the name “DC Velocity”) and pledged to provide accurate business intelligence and reliable information to help supply chain managers make better, more-informed decisions. That is a promise we continue to make—at least for 20 more years. Thanks for being part of the ride.