While added physical space gives distribution centres room for more inventory and enables them to improve the way they address vendor and customer demands, there are some additional challenges created in doing so.
As the volume of orders your distribution centre sees increases, it means you and your team need to work faster to keep up. However, this push to work faster must come with quality controls and oversight. As Supply Chain Digital pointed out, faster work can translate to more mistakes.
“It's not that the process involved (identify shipping requirements, pick items from the warehouse, dispatch items) has changed; it's that it's suddenly become a lot more intense,” Supply Chain Digital contributor John Weber wrote. “For example, a key part of fulfilling an order is making sure the right products go out in the right packages. This is already a labour-intensive process but achieving it for a greater number of orders in less time makes it even more difficult, increasing the potential for mistakes.”
When operations are spread across multiple locations, this can complicate things in terms of management. Supervisors and stakeholders must ensure that everything from accounting and procurement, to picking and fulfilment, takes place in the most streamlined manner possible. Any disconnect can affect the efficiency of the distribution centre, and even spiral out to impact other supply chain partners.
Expanded distribution centre operations also create challenges for inventory management, which was already a top priority — and pain point — for distribution centre managers. More inventory means your DC will need more granular and accurate tracking to ensure stock doesn’t go missing, and that inventory is continuously maintained at optimal levels.
There’s also the risk of redundant processes across disparate distribution centre operations, which can end up costing you considerable time, effort and (of course) money. This risk only grows when DCs don’t have the technology and oversight they need to manage rising inventory and expanding operations.