Monday, December 10, 2012

Inside of Amazon's Warehouse

Ever wonder what the inside of am Amazon facility looks like? Amazon has many facilities like this throughout the U.S. Amazon's operations are industry-leading, which is part of their competitive advantage.

The gains Amazon has made in supply chain management has resulted in the company being able to gain more market share and convert more prospects to customers and more customers into seeking out Amazon in their top list of online vendors when making a purchase.

The warehouse facility below includes images of book fulfillment, in addition to warehousing of goods. If you look in the background of image 3 you can see just how far back this warehouse goes and how high it reaches. Remember, amazon has many of these locations throughout the U.S. and they are constantly inbounding and outbounding new items.

Image 1
View from above of warehouse

Image 2
Massive fulfillment section within book section.
Image 3
staff sort and track inventory

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Info About ProMat 2013

In January, 2013 supply chain industry professionals will gather in Chicago for ProMat 2013. This event, held every two years, is the largest gathering of such professionals and is hosted by MHIA.This event gives attendees an opportunity to interact with their peers, meet vendors and learn about new solutions. Various educational tracks are offered, totally over 100 seminars. Various supply chain leaders and manufactures will be leading the seminars.

Several keynote speakers will be present. Access to keynote speakers is covered as part of the registration process. Doors open Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:00.

Benefits of attending include:
  • Gaining additional knowledge of practical solutions to complex supply chain problems
  • Learn about real world case studies
  • Discuss emerging topics with peers
  • Attend educational events
  • Network with vendors
  • Discover shifting best practice solutions
More about the Event:
ProMat 2013 will be held in Chicago. Visit for more information about the event and to keep up with news.

Dates: 1/21/13 - 1/24/13
Location: McCormick Place (Chicago, IL)

Registration: no charge - register online.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Considerations Cold Temperature Computers

The supply chain faces many types of challenges. Temperature is one of those issues. Consider the strain that is put on mobile computers when they are brought back and forth between a 100 degree loading dock and a freezer that is -20 degrees or less.

Battery Issue with Cold Temperature Computers:

Many lithium ion batteries cannot handle the severe temperatures needed to operate cold temperature computers. This is the same reason that many all electric cars are not suitable for some states in the northern U.S. Mobile workers in warehouse situations will have a hard time depending on standard lithium ion batteries. There is an alternative with low impedance lithium ion batteries, or even lead acid batteries.

Avoid Detaching Connectors:

Connectors are typically clip in. This works for a majority of uses when connecting a peripheral device to computer. However, a variable to help ensure maximum up time, you will want to consider having screw in connections. These connections are stronger, more reliable and can act as a seal against letting in moister. Moister can damage the connection.

Seek Durable Materials

Like how connections can allow for condensation to enter, so too can the house. When picking a unit, make sure the housing is strong enough to resist the temperature swings the warehouse versus the loading dock. Also make sure that while in the warehouse is can sustain a person dropping it on the floor.

worker in cold temperature warehouse
A worker in a cold storage warehouse. In these working conditions additional equipment considerations must be given for reliability and productivity.

I'll keep writing about this for future entries


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Video of Warehouse Operations Tour

Here's a good video of warehouse operations in action. The video is from Dirt Cheap Lawn & Garden from their 180,000 square foot Indiana warehouse. This warehouse features merchandise from a variety of premier manufacturers. The company offers retailers to purchase large and small quantities and is open throughout the year.

This company is a good illustration of what a modern warehouse looks like. I would suspect that many operations managers would like to have some of the abilities and technology from this warehouse.

Check out the YouTube video. The video walks you through the process of what happens once an order has been received and processed.

Video: Dirt Cheap Lawn & Garden


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Is Your Warehouse Functioning Well?

In this blog I'll be writing alot about warehouse operations and the challengers that can be had. There is significant pressure today financially to ensure that your warehouse is not the weak point in the supply chain. Large customers demand annual improvements to satisfy their internal requirements. All suppliers and vendors throughout the supply chain understand this and strive to meet the demands of these customers.

Be flexible. Be creative. As you look to your operations, try to have an open mind. Be flexible. There are always going to be internal politics within your company. Revisit ideas from the past. Look at what was previously tabled and see if implementing is more realistic today.

Ask the employees: If you're looking for additional low hanging fruit, consider talking to the workers themselves. Often there are a few great examples of those that can bring some common sense thoughts that would both make their job easier and make it more efficient.  People like to be part of projects, don't miss opportunities with this group.

If you're looking for other options and ideas, consider contacting a consultant. This is a good option to consider, especially if the warehouse goals are higher than you feel you can achieve with internal resources alone.

forklift in warehouse
Is your warehouse functioning the way you want it too? What improvements are you considering to meet the demands of the supply chain?

Have a question? Contact me or follow me on Twitter.