Optimizing a Distribution Strategy | FORTNA

7 Steps to Optimizing a Distribution Operations Strategy

The ever-shifting supply chain landscape has been a challenge to navigate over the past few years. Market disruption, pandemics and geopolitical unrest has continued to send ripples throughout most industries and the supply chain in general.

However, one aspect that does not change, is the need for a smart strategy for a new or revamped distribution operation. A strategy that can consider the goals, growth and the changing distribution channels of your organization as well as the turbulence of the marketplace. Part of its Distribution Network Optimization Strategy, FORTNA has a proven process that includes AI powered scenario planning, proprietary tools & algorithms and pathway designs & benchmarked industry best practices.

Read on to learn more about the 7 Steps to Optimizing Your Distribution Operations Strategy.

Data Analysis and Baseline Modeling/Calibration

The first step in any strategy is to study and benchmark where and how the business is currently operating. While many times, a company will lean on internal resources to provide insight into company data and analytics, FORTNA employs its proprietary software, FORTNADCmodeler® to analyze years of item, order, receipt, shipment and inventory data that can quickly and effectively provide a strong foundation of data to benchmark.

Stakeholder Alignment Exercises

With any project, alignment with key stakeholders can be a large determiner of length of engagement and overall success or failure. FORTNA takes a step-by-step approach with a diverse client stakeholder team to ensure cohesion, valued discussion and ultimately agreement. Transparency in design and planning helps manage expectations with speed of project, value and flexibility.

Performance Benchmarking

Data is not the only component needed when forming a new strategy. Labor, process and service performance is vital to understanding current operational limits and uncovering opportunities for optimization and improvement. Measurement of throughput, cost per order, capacity and service metrics, can lead to illuminating facts about current processes and perceived limitations.

Network Scenario Development and Evaluation

One unique tool that FORTNA can bring to bear is the Network Strategy Tool. This proprietary tool allows a client to visualize and contrast different network scenarios and explore multiple alternatives as a part of a complete network refresh or a targeted e-Commerce strategy. Using client data points, FORTNA can provide a client with numerous options and scenarios to analyze and study.

Sensitivity/Risk Analysis

Part of working with FORTNA, an end-to-end design-build firm, is that a client works with one company to ensure that sensitive business data and business practices are protected, and a reduction of risk is at the highest of priority. FORTNA uses a suite of software such as the FORTNADCoptimizer™ and FORTNADCcalculators™ to not only present alternatives to design and risk, but also use over 80 built-in calculators that allows our experts to get consistent and reliable answers on design questions so clients can feel completely informed and confident in the data.

Business Case, including Capital Investment and Horizon Operating Costs

Building a client business case is one of the main functions of a successful strategy. FORTNA uses all its proprietary data science tools and experts to unlock meaningful insights, which then fuels our optimization models that meet and/or exceed business requirements. The output of this data is to help clients make a data-based, informed decision that will justify capital expense and set intended ROI and KPIs moving forward.

Roadmap/Transition Plan

As part of its Distribution Network Optimization Strategy, FORTNA solution design experts will factor in the cost of facility design alternatives, help implement the final network, and maintain performance with end-to-end lifecycle services.


Having a smart strategy is only the first step in building an operation that is a competitive advantage. FORTNA utilizes the FORTNA Distribution Optimization Framework which includes the following steps:


Contact FORTNA today to start building your strategy and to learn more about the FORTNA Framework.

If you liked this post, you might be interested in the following article from our Insights Library: FORTNA Solution Design Guiding Principles.

About the Author


Darren Jorgenson

Practice Lead, Global Strategy

Darren Jorgenson is the Global Strategy Practice Leader for FORTNA and has been in the industry for 20+ years, serving in multiple industries and consulting roles. Darren is a member of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals and has been recognized as a Pro to Know by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine.