Reinventing the Warehouse: World Class Distribution Logistics

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Simon and Schuster, 1993 - Business & Economics - 364 pages
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Having successfully "reinvented the factory" in his previous books, Roy Harmon extends his discussion of productivity from the factory to twenty-first-century warehouse and logistics channels. Harmon illustrates real-life applications of important warehousing improvements in over 50 companies throughout the world and presents state-of-the-art warehouse designs for high-quality, lightning-fast, low-cost customer service.
Harmon describes superior operations in a variety of environments -- including retail warehousing and logistics, service parts warehousing and distribution, manufacturing material and component storage, and industrial products - that can lead to 80 to 90 percent improvements in a company's capital and inventory investments and operating expenses. To be competitive in the twenty-first century, Harmon argues, companies must create new, small "focused warehouses" that will decrease bureaucracy and increase the authority of managers and work-teams to ensure successful operations. Modern "clusters" of suppliers' facilities in regional market areas will virtually eliminate the thousands of miles products and components travel from raw material source locations through production, into the hands of their customers. Such radical changes, asserts Harmon, will reduce the size and quantity of trucks on highways and increase the volume of more economical rail and water transport of raw materials.
Truly superior warehousing, Harmon argues, entails maximum utilization of all logistics assets, such as manpower, facilities, and equipment: multifunctional warehouseman teams with complete responsibility for an area of the warehouse including receiving, stocking, packing,and shipping;; modular warehousing designs for fast, nondisruptive additions during peak season; and increased hours and days during which expensive equipment is utilized by adding night and weekend shifts.
Harmon introduces other strategies such as cross-docking -- a procedure used to transfer receipts on SLS Sears Logistics Services' inbound supplier trucks to its outbound trucks -- and semi-automated picking -- a storage and retrieval system used by Yamaha Motor Company in Japan that continuously challenges every aspect of the physical warehouse, its methods and procedures, and its management to create visions of their "warehouse of the future" today.

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The basic factors that go into the design and operation of the world's best warehouses and storerooms are detailed. The book will be in the forefront of warehousing theory and practice for decades to come.


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About the author (1993)

Roy L. Harmon, coauthor of Reinventing the Factory (The Free Press, 1990) and author of Reinventing the Factory II (The Free Press, 1992), founded Andersen Consulting's factory productivity practice and provides advice to its clients throughout the world.

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