But the definition of "warehouse" is so much broader today, thanks to modern tracking technology and analytics. If a retail supply chain is properly automated, the warehouse is wherever your materials or products are right now. That could be aboard a ship or aircraft, or on trucks headed to customer outlets.
If your organization has the benefit of total command visibility, the supply chain is your warehouse and the distribution center is just one part of it. It's an interactive supply chain, applying specific point-of-sale information and business analytics to maximize profit down to the store level. Begin to make real-time, informed decisions instead of reactive decisions every step of the way.
Here's what command visibility in a supply chain looks like. Take a large department store chain. Let's say someone has designed a really great red dress.
The design goes out to somewhere in China; someone gets the supplies together and manufactures it. The company doesn't have visibility into China, they just know that someone is going to make the red dresses – they don't even know how many. Eventually, the manufacturer gets all the red dresses, boxes them and put them on a ship. The company still has no visibility.
Visibility begins when the ship comes into Long Beach or Seattle, and this is when the company discovers how many red dresses it has. Next, there's a distribution issue because the dresses are going to a DC and the retailer must determine how to get those dresses out to all the stores – so they put 100 dresses in each store.
The next big issue is what to do when the red dresses sell really great in New York City, but not in Atlanta. In New York you need to reorder, is it cheaper to ship the dresses to New York from Atlanta or from the distribution center? Does the company recognize that there are too many red dresses in Atlanta?
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Keywords: Supply Chain Management, Logistics Management, Warehouse Management, Supply Chain Solutions