Warehouse Assessment in a Single Tour
Over the last decades, many companies have offshored manufacturing activities to Asia Pacific and Eastern Europe. Since the consuming markets have not moved, this has put an increasing burden on the distribution operations of such companies. Companies have centralized warehouse operations in few, but often large facilities responsible for distributing products over a large region. Managing efficiency and effectiveness (service) is a great challenge for managers of such facilities. As a result, they feel a great need to benchmark warehouse operations, not only their own, but also their competitors’. However, assessing the performance of a distribution facility is a tricky business. Even after having visited a large number of them, it is still difficult to tell after a visit, whether this was a best-in-class operation, just above average or even relatively poor performing. Nevertheless, even short tour visits can reveal a lot of information to the trained eye. This paper proposes a method to help managers getting more information from tour visits, through a simple and rapid assessment form. The form should be filled out immediately after the visit. The evaluation has been inspired by the ideas of Gene Goodson in Harvard Business Review on rapid plant assessment (Goodson (2002) Harvard Business Review, 3–11 May). Since its development, the method has been successfully applied in several visits, with different groups of managers (with and without warehouse experience) and students.
KeywordsData Envelopment Analysis Mobile Terminal Customer Order Order Line Logistics Service Provider
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