3 Distribution Solutions to Maximize Efficiency in a Modern Operation
Distribution Solution 1: Top-of-the-Line Technology
In any modern distribution center, technology plays a critical role. But just using computers and automation isn’t enough to keep up with the latest trends. Global Industrial offers products in these areas that may assist you in improving efficiency:
As distribution centers grow larger, you don’t want to lose valuable time as workers walk around the warehouse picking products. Conveyors allow you to centralize your workforce in fewer locations and move items rapidly without using precious human time. For growing operations with quickly changing needs, consider movable conveyors that your team can adjust on the fly.
Major conveyor categories include roller conveyors, flexible conveyors, portable conveyors, power belt conveyors, and wheel conveyors. As highly-used conveyors can wear down over time, it’s also a good idea to keep some spare parts on hand, such as bearings and replacement wheels, in case of a breakdown.
In manufacturing businesses, it’s easy to get complacent and stick with long-used production methods. While it may be uncomfortable upgrading, newer tools like 3D printing may enable you to create highly customized parts and products from metals, plastics, carbon fiber, and other inputs in less time with less waste.
Robotics are quickly advancing to offer new features and capabilities. Imagine a world in which your customer makes an online order, and a fully automated process brings the products to a central packing area where a small team puts everything in boxes before they are whisked away to a fully automated shipping process.
This isn’t science fiction; many companies use similar robotics-powered logistics operations today. Robots can handle picking, packing, and transportation within your warehouse in many situations, so even if you can’t use robotics for your core operation, you may be able to become more efficient in other areas, like sanitation. Items like industrial robot vacuums can be a good investment.
Distribution Solution 2: Smart Shipping Supplies
Boxes and bubble wrap are hardly high-tech, but they play a vital role in your operation. Inadequate or insufficient shipping supplies can cause deployment delays, damage goods, and muddle your attempts to improve efficiency.
When choosing supplies for your distribution center or warehouse, cost is an important consideration—but it’s not the only factor. After all, cutting corners may save you a few dollars upfront, but it could lead to more expenses down the road.
Essential factors to consider when choosing shipping and packing supplies include weight, material, durability, reusability, and environmental impact.
Major supply areas to consider include:
- Boxes: Quality boxes protect your product and help it conform to cube shapes for more efficient handling.
- Stretch Wrap: Stretch wrap and protective films can cover a product, so it isn’t damaged from shipping and handling. It can also help secure loose parts or protrusions.
- Protective Packaging: This broad category includes bubble wrap, mailers, corrugated packaging, bags, containers, tissue, and related supplies that keep your products secure and stable inside their larger box or shipping container.
Avoid making supply decisions in a vacuum. You should always also consider the tools and machines that are necessary to work with those supplies. For example, you wouldn’t want to buy stretch wrap without a suitable stretch wrap dispenser and stretch wrap machine. Sometimes a small adjustment or addition, like a new packing workbench or pallet machine, makes a huge impact on efficiency.
Distribution Solution 3: Execute with Experts
There’s a common saying that many business owners and managers “don’t know what you don’t know.” You’re likely an expert in the widgets or gadgets that your company produces or distributes, but that doesn’t mean you have a natural knowledge of distribution centers and warehouse operations.
If you feel like you’ve hit the limit on what you know about distribution efficiency, it may be time to bring in outside expertise. Warehouse and distribution center consultants can help you find new and innovative options to improve efficiency, from a significant overhaul of part of your operation or just fine-tuned adjustments. Bringing in a fresh set of eyes with an expert point of view may help you uncover solutions that you didn’t even realize were possible.
Consulting is typically an investment that provides an outsized return. The upgrades and improvements from a short-term consulting engagement have long-lasting results for your business. Bringing in a consultant for just a week or a few days may provide insights and strategies that take your business to the next level.
In addition to our selection of over a million-plus products, Global Industrial offers consulting services to help you improve distribution operations. As longtime experts with over 70 years of experience in material handling, we’re always excited to help our customers transform their businesses for lasting success.
Planning for the Next Phase of Your Business with Global Industrial
As the economy continues to bounce back post-pandemic, businesses who are proactively adapting to the new realities of supply chain demands will come out on top. To avoid falling behind, it’s wise to take a holistic look at your distribution solutions to ensure you’re following the best strategy for your goals.
Whether you’re looking to upgrade your technology, secure better shipping supplies, or just need an outside eye to improve efficiency, Global Industrial is standing by to help. With the right partners, tools, and supplies, we can supply you with the modern solutions you need for a successful future.
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