By and large, a fast-growing company has made sound product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales decisions to achieve its current success.
And chances are, that same company has achieved exceptional customer service levels with reasonable operating costs to sustain growth over the long haul. After all, the impact of deteriorating delivery capabilities can have a long-term detrimental effect on a company’s reputation and brand value.
Nevertheless, many fast-growing companies that have made such savvy decisions along their growth trajectory often make poor decisions or fail to make necessary investments at the distribution center operational level that ultimately erode their reputation for exceptional customer service.
Companies large and small, with varying sizes and numbers of warehouses, may face completely distinctive challenges, but in all cases, their issues become apparent when the limits of their current picking strategies or technologies, or both, have been exceeded. The key is understanding when it’s time to stop relying on more people and overtime to get the job done and begin the process of evaluating improved technologies or more automated alternatives.
Distribution centers (DCs) of small, growing companies are often challenged to keep up with continually increasing throughput requirements, usually due to inefficient methodologies and technologies that are in place. Contrary to many companies’ gut reaction to resolving bottlenecks in the operation, adding labor to the process isn’t a long-term solution and can actually compound the operational inefficiencies. Instead, improving the process to increase capacities at constraining points increases productivity and enables the DC to support growing business levels going forward.