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Obviously, internet retailers ship orders directly to customers' homes or offices, but direct fulfillment is an avenue of business even for the bricks-and-mortar vendors as well, not to mention those who still sell through catalogs. The design trends that Kulp speaks of deal with processes and technology, and every part of management needs to be on top of them, he says.
"Understanding these trends is important if they want to reduce their costs and make their operations more profitable," Kulp says. The level of interest is greatest among retailers because so much of their capital investment is in whatever it takes to get orders to customers. Most manufacturers generally are more concerned with raw materials because so much of their money is tied up there. Others, such as pharmaceutical manufacturers, may be more vested in research and development. Nevertheless, all companies should be aware of trends in DC design, Kulp says.
That requires top-management buy-in, and often from the CEO, especially if there is to be investment in new technology.
The last several years have seen minimal investment in new equipment or technology because of economic constraints, he says. Process improvements - "tweaks" - was the mantra, but money is beginning to be freed up for investment in new material handling devices and technology.
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Keywords: supply chain management IT, warehouse management, inventory management systems, warehouse management systems, wms warehouse management, retail supply chain, wms warehouse management systems
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