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In the past, warehouses invested in highly automated and highly engineered material handling systems that were designed to provide the fastest possible picking for a particular business's needs. However, a host of market pressures are causing the activities inside the warehouse to change rapidly. SKU proliferation, variety of pack sizes, product lifecycle volatility, and a shift to direct-to-consumer business have rendered many highly engineered systems ineffective or obsolete. Today's distribution centers are designed around a concept of flexibility rather than around finding the perfect solution to a precise business problem that may change tomorrow.
-Ian Hobkirk, senior analyst, Supply Chain Execution, AberdeenGroup
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