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Harnessing Complexity for Competitive Advantage
Disruptive changes are occurring in today's supply chain. Changes in service expectations, technology and resources are creating greater complexity than ever before. Harnessing distribution complexity creates opportunities for competitive advantage. As seen on this DCV-TV video featuring Fortna President John White, hear about how companies are achieving results by accelerating fulfillment, using automation to create true omni-channel distribution centers and enabling stores as distribution nodes.
Where You Place Inventory is a Strategic Decision
The need to get orders in the hands of customers faster, and with lower transportation costs, is driving changes in inventory strategy. Because the goal is to balance service and efficiency, where you place inventory becomes a more strategic decision. To learn more, read this SupplyChainBrain article by John Giangrande.
Same-Day Fulfillment: The Value of Speed
Next day delivery is the new normal. But companies struggle with what service level makes sense and how to justify investments. Read this SupplyChainBrain article by Helgi Leja on the key issues for same-day fulfillment.
Using Ship-from-Store to Offset Forecast Inaccuracy
For companies looking to offer better customer service and achieve higher margins on their products, ship-from-store offers a way to match inventory with demand more dynamically. This SupplyChainBrain article by Fortna’s Adam Mullen outlines what you need to know about this growing trend.
Same-Day Fulfillment – It’s a Balancing Act
Customer expectations for shorter order-to-delivery times are driving companies to look for ways to accelerate fulfillment without decreasing accuracy or profitability. In this recent webcast, Fortna’s Helgi Leja discusses how leading companies are gaining competitive advantage by reducing fulfillment times from days to hours and even minutes. He also provides practical advice on the impacts and delicate balance required in certain areas of the business to allow for later order cut-off times. To learn more, listen to the recording or read an article on the topic.
Accelerating Fulfillment Requires Balance: The Benefits and Impacts of Same-Day Fulfillment
Increasing customer expectations for faster order-to-delivery times are putting pressure on companies to offer same-day fulfillment. As same-day fulfillment becomes the new normal, the key is to find the right strategy by balancing potential service level improvement, revenue gain, and investment. Read this article to learn about the benefits and key considerations of enabling same-day fulfillment.
The Path to Shelf-Ready Fulfillment: A Self-Assessing Guide
Are you looking for ways to improve business performance? Leading retailers are boosting revenue, increasing efficiencies, and cutting costs with shelf-ready fulfillment—the delivery of display-ready merchandise to the retail store. This article provides a self-assessment guide to help determine whether these strategies are right for you and where to begin.
Ship-from-Store Distribution: What You Need to Know About this Growing Trend
Retailers such as Macy’s are pioneering the way as they leverage store inventory to fulfill eCommerce orders in a ship-from-store model. Fortna retail industry expert Adam Mullen discusses why leading companies are moving to this model and provides practical advice on the impacts to consider in this recent webinar hosted by the Georgia Center of Innovation for Logistics. Watch the webcast recording or view the slides here.
Shelf-Ready Fulfillment: Moving Beyond Tagging and Ticketing for Bottom-Line Benefits
Shelf-ready fulfillment does more than save money with increased efficiency. By freeing up store employees to focus on selling and organizing merchandise for optimal sales, its greater benefit is the potential for increased revenue. This article
outlines three components of shelf-ready fulfillment and takes a deeper look at its benefits.
The Impact of Omni-Channel Fulfillment on Distribution Systems
The transition to true omni-channel commerce is challenging even the most experienced retailers. Fulfilling orders from any location and any channel will require new processes not typical in retail and wholesale operations as well as more robust, integrated systems to support new levels of precision, speed and complexity. This article outlines the five major changes associated with omni-channel fulfillment that may impact your systems.
Is Ship-from-Store Distribution Right For You? 10 Things to Consider When Using Stores as Distribution Nodes
Ship-from-store can help omni-channel retailers increase sales and margins by better leveraging the inventory in their stores. This article outlines ten important impacts on your business that need to be considered for this fulfillment model – from distribution operations to information systems to the culture of your brand.
Is Flawed Distribution Investment Holding Your Business Back?
The importance of distribution is often misunderstood. A well-designed distribution network has the potential to drive a significant competitive advantage, yet many businesses are reluctant to invest in it. This article will help you understand how to make good distribution investment decisions to position your business for long-term success.
Ship-from-Store Distribution: Reducing the Impact of an Imperfect Forecast
Retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom and Toys“R”Us are blazing new paths as they leverage store inventory to fulfill eCommerce orders in a ship-from-store model. They are blurring the lines between channels and creating flexible fulfillment models, often to reduce the impact of an imperfect forecast. Read this article to learn about the three components of this approach and to help determine whether this strategy is right for your business.
5 Steps to Designing Omni-Channel Fulfillment Operations
Transitioning successfully to omni-channel distribution is challenging. How do you optimize your DC to support multiple channels with different service requirements, growth projections and an uncertain future? Read this article which outlines the 5-step process revolving around your data that leads to the right omni-channel fulfillment strategy for your business.
Trends in Life Sciences Distribution
Complex changes are transforming the Life Sciences industry. In this video interview of Fortna supply chain leaders, learn about the latest trends impacting distribution operations in the Life Sciences industry and how Fortna is helping companies address these challenges.
Trends in Retail Distribution
The increasing demands of consumers expecting a seamless omni-channel shopping experience along with fast product delivery are creating new challenges for retailers. In this video interview, Fortna EVP Andrew Breckenridge talks with SupplyChainBrain about these key issues and the latest distribution trends, including ship-from-store and store-ready DC operations. To learn more, read the transcript or watch the video.
MSC Reduces Order Cycle Time by 75%
MSC was recently honored with Modern Material Handling's 2013 Productivity Award for a project that reduced order cycle time by 75% and produced the biggest cost-cutting initiative in company history. To maintain its competitive edge, MSC made a significant promise to its customers - if it is ordered today, it ships today. Read how Fortna helped MSC Industrial Supply deliver on same-day fulfillment in this MMH article.
ASICS Transforms Distribution Operations to Support Double Digit Growth
In this Modern Materials Handling article, read how Fortna client ASICS America transformed its capacity constrained distribution operations to support double digit growth. With real-time inventory management and improved efficiencies, ASICS multi-channel DC is now able to process twice its current volume with improved accuracy, faster cycle times and lower labor costs, and it has the built-in flexibility to handle future growth in all its channels.
Achieving Success in eCommerce and Multi-channel Distribution
The growth of eCommerce is driving change in service requirements and creating new challenges in multi-channel distribution. This Supply Chain Quarterly video interview features Fortna’s President, John White, on what companies are doing to be successful in multi-channel fulfillment. He discusses the latest trends, including the new board-level awareness of the supply chain's impact on business. To learn more, read the transcript or watch the video.
The Foundation of Distribution Efficiency: Analyzed your Order Profiles Lately?
Adapting distribution to changing customer requirements is challenging. To guide decisions to improve the efficiency of your DC and better serve your customers, read this article outlining the 10 steps to understanding order profiles. If it has been awhile since you looked at your order profiles, you may find that it is time to do an analysis.
3 Keys to Fulfilling Multiple Channels from a Common DC
With new channels and competition creating challenges for supply chains, more companies are looking at combining channels in a single DC to optimize inventory, labor and equipment. In this SupplyChainBrain video interview, Fortna Account Executive Jason Denmon shares three keys to using this strategy. Read the interview transcript or view the video to learn more.
Re-slotted Your DC Lately? 8 Slotting Improvements for Quick Efficiency Gains
Are you looking for ways to improve your DC efficiency? If it has been awhile since you re-slotted your DC, you might be missing opportunities to improve your competitive advantage. The right slotting strategy can help you achieve speed and accuracy in your distribution operations while also enabling growth and reducing costs. Read this article to find out more about the 8 slotting improvements that can lead to quick efficiency gains.
7 Trends Driving New Thinking in Distribution Design
Far-reaching changes in technology, global economic conditions, and customer expectations are making distribution increasingly complex. The seven trends outlined in this article represent an opportunity to create competitive advantage for your business out of innovative distribution facility and network design.
Tipping Point Analysis: A Surefire Way to Get Project Approval
There are never enough funds to take on all the strategic initiatives a company desires. This article shows how you can use tipping point analysis to increase your chance of project approval by preparing you to answer "What if" questions for a given assumption across a wide range of possible outcomes. View the video on tipping point analysis or read the transcript of this Supply Chain Brain executive briefing that features Fortna Director, Joe Dunlap.
11 Steps to Aligning Your Distribution Network for Competitive Advantage
Adapting your distribution network to changes in business strategy and growth may be the key to competitive advantage. Determining the best design, however, can be challenging. This article outlines the 11 steps needed to design a network that lines up with your unique business model while maximizing customer service and minimizing operating costs, capital investment and risk.
Improving Communication in the DC: Is Social Media the Answer?
Many companies today are looking at social media as a way to improve internal communication across business units and within the DC. This article outlines the pros and cons of social media in the DC and provides four tips for using social media as a communication tool for your distribution operations.
Three Things to Consider Before Investing in Systems
Before you invest in new technology to improve productivity or reduce costs, take a close look at your operations by walking through your distribution center. You may be surprised to find easier and lower cost solutions, like those outlined in this article, without spending capital on new systems.
Six Steps to a Successful Retrofit
Considering an equipment upgrade or retrofit of an existing DC to adjust to changes in your business or demands on your distribution operations? This article provides several useful tips for managing your retrofit project, avoiding potential pitfalls and getting help to ensure that the transition from old to new goes smoothly.
The Last 100 Yards: Shelf-driven Supply Chain Management
Companies often make well-intentioned decisions to improve DC operations that negatively impact their overall supply chain cost and efficiency. Read about how some companies are taking a closer look at the last 100 yards of the supply chain to ensure efficiencies gained in the DC are not lost through inefficient replenishment processes in the stores.
Effects of the Panama Canal Expansion on Distribution Networks
Wondering how the Panama Canal expansion might affect your business? The widening of the Panama Canal is being heralded as a "game changer" that will transform distribution networks. In this article, Joe Dunlap, Fortna Director of Transportation Strategy, explains who may be impacted by the expansion and about the potential benefits, pitfalls and things to consider if your distribution network is likely to be affected by the shipping route changes.
7 Important Things to Consider When Evaluating WMS Vendors
Evaluating Warehouse Management Systems can be challenging, with more similarities than differences in the products themselves. Product evaluation can net scoring differences of less than a percentage point. What you need is to look beyond the product demo and ask questions about the companies behind the products – questions about organization structure, future plans, financial viability and industry experience to determine a vendor’s overall fit as a long-term partner.
Industrial Distribution: Trends and Opportunities for Growth
This is one of a 3-part series of conversations with Holden Lewis, Managing Director, BB&T Capital Markets, and Helgi Leja, Fortna Sr. Account Executive. In the segment called “Trends and Opportunities for Growth” they talk specifically about:
Industrial Distribution: Channel Proliferation
This is one of a 3-part series of conversations with Holden Lewis, Managing Director, BB&T Capital Markets, and Helgi Leja, Fortna Sr. Account Executive. In the segment called “Channel Proliferation” they discuss:
what is driving channel proliferation
the challenges of serving customers across multiple channels
how to address rising customer expectations/requirements
Industrial Distribution: Price Pressures and Tipping Points
This is one of a 3-part series of conversations with Holden Lewis, Managing Director, BB&T Capital Markets, and Helgi Leja, Fortna Sr. Account Executive. In the segment called “Price Pressures and Tipping Points” they discuss:
quantifying and documenting value-add services
tipping points for investment decisions
competing on service versus price
Four Trends Driving Automation
Is it time for you to take another look at automated material handling solutions for your distribution center? The growth of eCommerce, characterized by each picking, free shipping and higher customer expectations, is driving greater demand for automated material handling solutions. Automation is coming of age and approaching a level where the investment is easier to justify. Fortna senior executives John White and Mike Dunn discuss the trends driving automation solutions in this article published by Modern Materials Handling.
Get with the Program! An Implementation Strategy for Your Next Distribution Facility
Designing and implementing a new distribution facility can be challenging and risky for your business. These projects are complex and usually involve a number of work streams that are usually run in silos. This Trade & Industry Development magazine article by Fortna Director Phil Quartel suggests that what is needed is a program structure that integrates all work streams, including those that are frequently overlooked, under one umbrella.
ASICS America: Successes and Lessons Learned a Year After Going Live in a New Site
ASICS America, one of the most successful and well-known athletic footwear and apparel brands in the world, learned quite a bit since it went live with a new 520,000 square foot distribution center a year ago. In this presentation you benefit from hindsight as they share some of the lessons learned in building a new distribution center. If you are facing growth challenges or looking to build a new DC you will appreciate this information.
Is Your DC Designed for Today's Customer Demands?
New channels and new competitors are giving customers more options than ever before and changing customer expectations. The changes are creating new challenges for more than just inventory and fulfillment systems. Fortna VP Andrew Breckenridge talks with SupplyChainBrain about what companies are doing to address those challenges. Read the interview transcript or view the video Is Your Distribution Center Designed for Today's Customer Demands?
Three Keys to Success in Distribution Transformation
Distribution transformation projects, those that are tied to a business imperative, such as significant growth, new markets or new service requirements, require a different way of thinking about the business case, stakeholders and choosing a partner. Learn the three keys to successful transformation projects and what’s at stake if you don’t address these things early in a project. View Three Keys to Success in Distribution Transformation or read a transcript of this Supply Chain Brain executive briefing featuring Fortna Group Vice President, Mike Dunn.
Labor Management: Optimizing Your People Investment
A minimal investment in a labor management program can produce higher productivity, lower labor costs and more successful incentive programs. Do you have the right people and processes in place to sustain a labor management program? Whether you are kicking off a new program, or want to take your existing program to the next level, this brief audio presentation on the top 5 labor management lessons learned will help you avoid common problems and achieve the full benefit of your investment in people.
Aligning Fulfillment Operations with Your Changing Channel Mix
You are being asked to adapt to new channels, new competitors and new challenges mainly as a result of changes in customer expectations. Does your fulfillment strategy align with your changing channel mix? Should you manage fulfillment in shared or separate operations for optimal results? This article outlines the factors that will guide you to better decision-making.
Two + Two = Three? Expanding Your Production Schedule
Business is booming and there aren’t enough hours in the work day to keep up with order fulfillment. Would adding a second shift solve the problem? Be careful. Adding another shift to your production schedule is more complex than it sounds, and isn’t always the best answer.
Warehouse Automation: What's the Best Solution?
Wondering which warehouse automation solution is best? That may be the wrong question to ask. Take the focus off the technology. Learn the steps to take and which questions you should ask when selecting an automation solution to make your business more productive. Read this article from Food Logistics magazine.
9 Key Principles to Successful Organizational Strategy
In the day-to-day dynamics of managing your business, it is important not to lose sight of the basic principles upon which success is built. This article provides a reminder of 9 principles that form the foundation of successful organizational strategy. When you apply them in your daily activities and transformational projects, they provide a powerful toolkit for growing your business.
Tips to Building a Distribution Center in South Africa
South Africa’s economy has seen rapid growth in its middle class resulting in more disposable income and opening the country up to world markets. Fortna took a step forward in its own global expansion with the acquisition of LGA, a material handling and distribution services firm based in Johannesburg, South Africa. If you have plans to expand further into the EMEA region, you might enjoy reading this short article on the different thinking required when building a distribution center in South Africa.
Fortna Helps L.L.Bean Improve Inventory Management Supply Chain Quarterly article
Read about how L.L.Bean improved its inventory management, reduced storage space and avoided the need to build an additional DC. This article from Supply Chain Quarterly talks about how Fortna’s analysis of their distribution network was instrumental in helping the retailer get a better handle on its product lifecycles and improve forecasting. As a result L.L.Bean is able to fulfill customer orders across sales channels with little or no excess inventory.
A Case for SKU Management: The Implications of SKU Proliferation
You continue to add new products to attract new customers and increase sales. But more SKUs add complexity and cost to your distribution operations. And strained capacity can impact customer service and productivity. This article will help you assess the full impact of SKU proliferation and develop a business case for what to do with all those SKUs.
The Impact of eCommerce on Distribution Operations
John White, Fortna’s President, speaks with DC Velocity’s Mitch MacDonald on how e-commerce is raising the bar on customer expectations across all industries. John talks about trends - like the demand for smaller, more frequent orders - and their impact on distribution operations. He also gives examples of actions that leaders are taking to put their companies in front of these trends. Watch the video on DCV-TV Channel 4 or read the transcript.
Taking Automated Storage to New Heights
Automated storage systems help distribution operations gain speed and efficiency. Able to handle loads ranging from pallets to totes, these systems improve inventory control, reduce labor, and increase productivity. They also provide better handling that reduces product damage and loss. In this presentation we discuss the types of systems available today and the many advantages facilities can gain by automating their storage and handling processes.
Click to view the replay of this DC Velocity videocast, featuring Fortna's VP of Design Engineering, Brent Tymensky.
Pay Now or Pay Later: How to Minimize Risk in Distribution Center Design and Implementation
Distribution Center projects often require major investment and significant change. A misguided or poorly planned investment in the design and implementation of your distribution facilities can be devastating to your business. A proven way to mitigate this risk is to take a comprehensive approach during the facility design process. This article highlights the differences between the traditional approach to facility design and a more comprehensive and risk-averse approach called Operations Design.
Tipping Point Analysis: A Strategic Tool in Uncertain Times
The recent State of US Logistics report suggests continued economic uncertainty. A closer look at unemployment, the debt and credit markets, and the consumer confidence index–all point to the same conclusion. So how do you develop your strategy when the future is so uncertain? In this article, we discuss how Tipping Point Analysis helps leaders understand which strategic moves are right for their company even under changing conditions, and how it helps position them for the uncertain future.
Building a Business Case for Your Material Handling System Investment
This paper provides a detailed overview of the fundamental financial terms and methods to use when conducting this type of evaluation. This paper has also describes other decision impacting factors that should be considered when developing and presenting your business case. Your business case must be logical, credible, and presented in terms that are important and appealing to executive stakeholders.
Applying Lean Concepts to Distribution: Penske Logistics Case Study
Applying "Lean" principles in the DC results in increases in productivity and quality, as well as reduced costs. Hear Ed Kitt, Sr. VP of Operations, talk about Penske Logistics' organizational excellence process that produces bottom-line results with minimal capital investment. This case study illustrates the concepts and results of a successful, people-focused program. Listen to Applying Lean Concepts to Distribution or download the slides.
Using Highly Collaborative, Cross-functional Teams: ASICS Case Study
Building a new DC or retrofitting an existing facility? Hear Gary Jordan, ASICS' VP Operations/Chief Supply Chain Officer, talk about a proven path for integrating processes and eliminating silos. Using this approach in a recent DC retrofit project, ASICS was able to avoid cost and schedule over-runs, missed deliverables and finger pointing. Listen to Building a New DC or Retrofit: ASICS Case Study or download the slides.
Profitable Distribution System Design -Part 2
In this white paper, we discuss the principles of facility design and special considerations related to order picking, automation, space allocation and technology. For more about laying the foundation for an effective and efficient facility design, see part I of this white paper series.
Keys to Successful Supply Chain Transformation: An Interview with Fortna's President John White
Proven strategies for successful supply chain transformation are highlighted in a recent Supply Chain Brain interview with Fortna President, John White. White talks about what causes projects to succeed -- or fail, and the types of projects that industry leaders are focusing on for the near future relative to their supply chains.
View the Video: "Keys to Successful Supply Chain Transformation" or click for a transcript of the interview.
Profitable Distribution System Design -Part 1
Designing a distribution center is no simple matter. And implementing expensive distribution systems doesn't guarantee success. This white paper discusses the principles of good distribution design and what it takes to build a high-performance distribution center. Topics include the importance of data analysis and how to select the best storage media to meet your needs.
Eight Steps to Successful Systems Integration, DC Velocity (January 2011)
David Farmer, Fortna Group VP Sales, is quoted in DC Velocity article, “Eight Steps to Successful Systems Integration.” Click here to learn what he has to say and tips for keeping your systems integration project running smoothly.
11 Key Questions when Adding a Distribution Center
Expanding your Distribution Network? Consider these questions before you add a new DC. Multi-site distribution environments can be complex. These eleven thought-provoking questions will help you understand the issues to consider and the stakeholders to involve when expanding your distribution network.
When One DC is no Longer Enough
Have you outgrown your single DC? Moving to multi-site distribution adds a significant layer of complexity. A multi-facility network requires new processes that were not necessary for a single-facility network. Existing processes upstream and downstream of the distribution operation must be reviewed and revised. And the implementation of the facility itself must integrate many different work streams.
Keys to Successful Supply Chain Transformation
To enable growth, improve profitability, enhance customer service, and build distinct competitive advantages, organizations must change and evolve over time. Often, Supply Chain Leaders are responsible for delivering on the business case for organizational transformations. Unfortunately, major business transformations are notorious for not delivering on the original intent of the change, and supply chain programs are not immune to these challenges. Riddled with cost and schedule overruns, critical projects often miss delivery results, negatively impact service, and directly affect profits. This white paper delves into the specific approaches, issues, and challenges of three companies (names are withheld to protect the wounded) that implemented large-scale, business transforming programs.
Seven Steps to Improving Your DC Workforce Performance
Learn the seven steps to create a well-managed and productive workforce for your distribution operations. Not only can a workforce improvement project have a high return on investment, it can also improve the quality and accuracy of your fulfillment operations. It is not always about equipment and software. Rather, it is about sound business principles.
Integrated Delivery Model - A Faster, Easier, Better Approach
This paper explores the external partner sourcing strategy of a cross-functional, supply chain project from strategy through implementation. The tenet behind this paper is that external service providers with an "integrated delivery model" provide supply chain leaders with an opportunity to more effectively manage the time, cost and risk of such projects. These partners have the skills and experience to lead and integrate the lion's share of cross-functional responsibilities throughout the project. And, their approach guards against siloed, functionally focused communication and accountability, which is symptomatic of a poorly executed project. In essence, the integrated delivery model offers a faster, easier and better approach.
What is Waveless Processing and How Can It Optimize my Operation?
This white paper talks about how waveless processing offers multiple financial and operational advantages over traditional wave-based systems. It is a proven means for optimizing order selection by dynamically controlling tasks and anticipating unexpected events. Pickers work at a more even pace, and the system is able to manage and resolve unexpected events in real-time. Tools and expertise exist today to analyze and create an effective waveless system for you. Waveless processing will positively impact your bottom line by providing higher throughput, increased overall labor optimization, and enhanced customer service.
A Holistic Approach to Improving Distribution Operations - Part Two
There are two ways that distribution operations can increase a company's bottom-line: 1) increase sales, and 2) decrease costs. In order to achieve either of these goals, supply chain professionals must finely tune interdependent areas of focus: processes, people, inventory, facility and systems. Part Two of this two paper series outlines the seven steps for a successful operations improvement project - from developing a mission statement and goals to developing and analyzing options. It also addresses an approach to estimating resources needed to ensure the project is a success.
A Holistic Approach to Improving Distribution Operations - Part One
There are two ways that distribution operations can increase a company's bottom-line: 1) increase sales, and 2) decrease costs. In order to achieve either of these goals, supply chain professionals must finely tune interdependent areas of focus: processes, people, inventory, facility and systems. Part One of this two paper series discusses the specific business goals achievable through a properly-run operations improvement project and outlines an approach to "fine-tuning" each of the areas of improvement and understanding their interdependencies.
Product Flow Path Design - Because One Size Doesn't Fit All
The buzzword intent of flow path design is to raise the level of both awareness and analysis to a more strategic level in designing your supply chain. By taking a more strategic view than traditional approaches, organizations are better suited to invest more wisely in infrastructure and prevent deteriorating levels of performance in spite of the best of intentions. While not a panacea, flow path design provides a compelling alternative approach to propel your organization to supply chain excellence.
Optimizing Picking Performance Through Proper Sizing of Pick Locations
In some cases, the most effective means to increase efficiencies across both replenishment and picking operations is through the proper sizing of pick locations. Technology can be a huge investment in time and money and also may not address more easily corrected factors affecting productivity. However, an analysis and implementation of the proper size of pick and reserve media for your distribution center will yield information that can dramatically improve replenishment and pick productivity.