The Commonwealth Supply Chain Advisors Blog

Retailer-Driven Network Design: The Trend of the Future?

October 22nd, 2012

A topic that is coming up with greater frequency amongst our client base is that many consumer goods manufacturers are feeling more pressure from retailers to relocate their distribution centers to more centralized locations. This places suppliers in a real dilemma – how do they offset some of the additional costs of centralized distribution while still remaining flexible to their retail customers?

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5 Ways to Prevent – or Repair – a Troubled 3PL Relationship

October 16th, 2012

In the past few weeks I’ve had conversations with at least four companies whose relationship with their 3PL distribution centers is near the point of failure. I don’t know if this is indicative of a general trend or not, but it can certainly be said that the last few years made for some strange logistics bedfellows. Pacts sealed in the urgency of difficult times sometimes unravel when conditions improve. This post covers five quick suggestions for how companies can enter and maintain more healthy outsourcing relationships.

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Developing a Flexible Distribution Center Design When Growth is Uncertain

October 11th, 2012

I was in New York last week and had lunch with some colleagues in the industry. We all noted that over the last few months, we’ve seen what seems to be a real increase in companies that are out of space in their distribution centers and need to make some crucial decisions soon about what to do. However, in the new economic environment, most companies simply cannot commit to a growth forecast beyond the next few quarters.


Should they be optimistic and risk building a bigger DC than they need? Or should they be conservative and risk having to repeat the whole expansion process again in a few years? Should they put in a lot of automation that might not meet their needs if some sales channels grow faster than others?

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WMS Implementation Keys to Success

October 3rd, 2012

Commonwealth Blog readers sent in some of their own recommendations on how to ensure WMS implementation success. I’ve published a few of their suggestions in this blog post.

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Why Is It So HARD to Implement WMS?

September 27th, 2012

I was talking to a friend of mine recently whose company had just completed a challenging WMS implementation. Although the system eventually stabilized, the first few weeks were chaotic and resulted in significant customer service issues. I asked him what he felt were the key reasons for the issues they experienced. He cited things like inadequate training, lack of documentation, and the system being extremely unforgiving of even simple operator errors. This seems to be a common story with WMS implementations…

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