Better Manage Your Distribution Center with These Four Tips

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Distribution centers are the key facilities for all logistical transport of goods across the United States. The most successful distribution centers accommodate multiple suppliers and vendors under their roof. That means, on any given work day, the distribution center is moving goods for multiple supplier customers for multiple vendor customers.

In order for costs to be reduced, distribution centers need to invest in strategies and technology that can help transport goods more quickly and efficiently. Because of this need, managers at distribution centers are always in the pursuit of more efficient reforms for their distribution center processes. Here are four ways to better manage a distribution center.

Create a Standard Operating Procedure

All workers will need to be trained properly to the needs of each unique distribution center. That is why creating a unique standard operating procedure guide for each vendor and supplier order will help workers effectively execute all necessary policies regarding a particular supplier or vendor. This helps improve worker efficiency and reduces errors.

Warehouse Management System

A warehouse management system (WMS) is the main computer network that helps to analyze and process all inventory, orders and shipments for a distribution center. Companies like and hundreds of others offer warehouse management system software to better manage your supply chain. Managers have to find the software package that makes the most sense for their particular business

Each package may have different features that will benefit one center over another. For example, Inbound Logistics magazine reports on the technology known as advanced shipping notification (ASN), which has an automatic, electronic notification of when supplies will arrive and what the supplies are. ASN replaces technology like faxes or calling the center describing the supply order.

Maintain Customer Service

Distribution centers are business-to-business entities, where they interact with suppliers and vendors. Customer service is a required investment for any distribution center so that orders, concerns, and errors between suppliers and vendors can be communicated clearly. A call center should be maintained where specific customer service professionals take calls from suppliers or for vendors about their orders. In addition, communicating with the suppliers and vendors about their service can help maintain a good professional relationship as well as help the center learn what improvements they could make.

Understand the Role of Technology

Some distribution centers may look like they have not had proper technology investments in decades. Time is money, so when machines are not processing enough of the products that require high frequency shipment, then these machines need to be used for other products. Since many distribution centers will have different logistics machines throughout the floor, its important to research what equipment should be kept, what equipment is needed, and what equipment has no place in the center anymore.

To save costs, managers can keep older equipment to help move infrequent orders. But any equipment that is too slow should be replaced and any product that needs to be shipped frequently and fast should not be on any older equipment.

Managing a distribution center can be a high-stakes game. This is the facility that bridges suppliers and vendors and helps keep commerce spinning. However, key efficiency investments are necessary, so managers need to keep an eye out on needed reforms occasionally.


A recent college graduate from University of San Francisco, Anica loves dogs, the ocean, and anything outdoor-related. She was raised in a big family, so she's used to putting things to a vote. Also, cartwheels are her specialty. You can connect with Anica here .