Manufacturing Success with Smarter Multi-Warehousing & Distribution Strategies
Published on 23 March 2022
In 2022, many companies are still grappling with the pandemic-triggered disruptions of their supply chains. Now, the after-math of these disruptions and recent global events have sparked further inflation, driving up energy costs.
As a result, manufacturers—across verticals as diverse as industrial and CPG—as well as the food & beverage sector are struggling to maintain cost structures. These supply chain organizations are seeking to make smarter use of their distribution, fulfillment and shipping strategies to stay efficient and competitive—often in the face of adding new distribution channels in the fast-growing direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce sector.
The lessons learned from the pandemic has sent many manufacturers and food & beverage brands out to reduce risk by increasing manufacturing capacity to avoid stock-outs while increasing the speed of their supply chains.
Manufacturers and brands of all stripes are also adopting multi-warehouse strategies by positioning stock at distribution points closer to end customers across multiple DCs. By placing stock across multiple facilities, whether warehouses, DCs, or even microfulfillment centers and stores, shippers and their 3PL partners can still have a single repository of information with insights into real-time data and the ability to easily locate and track inventory and transfer stock across locations.
To accomplish this—against the backdrop of today’s accelerated pace to digitize supply chains—many companies are greatly reducing or eliminating manual or paper-based processes by turning to more advanced inventory management and warehouse management systems which connect to MES, ERP and other enterprise systems to bring a big-picture view into the supply chain.
With digitized information flows across facilities, solutions such as SOLOCHAIN WMS, an advanced SaaS warehouse management system, means supply chain organizations can achieve high levels of inventory accuracy and optimize stock across locations to better position against dynamic demand and supply patterns.
Likewise, pooled warehousing is another strategy that supply chain organizations are considering which helps companies reduce product storage costs by sharing resources. One benefit can be high service quality especially when like products with similar storage requirements are managed under one roof or across a set of facilities. A pooled warehouse is one that is shared among several parties, such as manufacturers, logistics providers or distributors in order to share space, resources and logistics information to improve the performance of the overall distribution process, as defined in a 2017 study published in Computers & Industrial Engineering.
A tale of two manufacturers
Blue Streak Electronics, a North American supplier of remanufactured electronics and diagnostic equipment, serves vehicle OEMs, a vast dealer network in the auto-care aftermarket, and a growing DTC e-commerce business. The supplier’s distribution is complex with not only wholesale distribution through facilities in the U.S. and Canada but retail. With global operations, including multiple manufacturing facilities and DCs, the company moved to cut ties with its 3PL and build a new DC in San Diego to take its distribution in house.
Generix set out to support the company in implementing the SOLOCHAIN WMS in conjunction with the opening of the San Diego DC, giving Blue Streak real-time visibility into inventory across its channels and facilities. Generix also integrated the company’s Microsoft Dynamics Nav ERP system with the new WMS and ensured smooth outbound fulfillment with integration of a small-parcel solution. As a result, Blue Streak achieved improved supply chain operational performance in the face of growth.
Marucci Sports, a Louisiana-based maker of baseball bats preferred by Major League Baseball and baseball accessories, was challenged by managing its inventory across five warehouses and facilities. The mid-size company needed to gain a greater level of control over managing inventory and the picking and packing process, as well as its value-added services.
With SOLOCHAIN WMS, Marucci Sports ultimately gained granular control over managing its inventory and orders across multiple facilities, with integration into its ERP system, Microsoft’s Business Central. In SOLOCHAIN, using rules-based fulfillment processes, orders are automated routed to the best pick paths, and special orders are easily handled without bogging down the productivity of warehouse associates. The sporting goods maker continues to improve operating efficiencies by measuring productivity and adapting its processes.
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To be sure, digitization of the supply chain and the painful lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic are bringing supply chain management into a new stage to reduce risk and gain efficiencies. Combined with digital inventory and warehouse management systems, multi-warehouse strategies and pooled warehousing are proven methods to improve supply chain performance while gaining efficiencies.
To learn more about SOLOCHAIN WMS, visit our video page.
Generix Group North America provides a series of solutions within our Supply Chain Hub product suite to create efficiencies across an entire supply chain. Our solutions are in use around the world and our experience is second-to-none. We invite you to contact us to learn more.