I interviewed Leonard Merari Situmeang who discussed Warehousing in the Retail Industry.
Please provide a brief background of yourself.
First of all, I would like to say thank you for inviting me and for interviewing me about supply chain spesific on Distribution Center operation in the retail Industry.
I have few years working experience in logistics role as a Distribution Center Operation, Logistics Business Analyst, and the last few years as a Consultant, Trainer and Associate for Consulting and Training Firm.
I am founder of Excelogic Consulting and Training, a Consulting and Training Firm based in Jakarta-Indonesia, we provide consultation and training on Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Quality Health and Safety Environment Management and Business Management.
My past experience help me to understand Business from Supply Chain perspective , how the flow of goods, information and financial movefrom raw material to end customer. I am Certified in Supply Chain Professional (CISCP) and currently Master Degree Candidate majoring Production Management.
I have passion to do Consultation and Training, also i enjoy role as a Teacher or Lecturer. I love to watching football and travelling. I think that is a quick brief regarding my background and my current activity.
What problems do you see with warehousing/Distribution Center in the retail industry?
Before we speak further about Distribution Center Operation in retail industry, let us focus on the retail industry that has high complexity, let’s say retail industry with more than 200 outlets and handle thousands of SKU.
to support this type of retail industry needs a dynamic Distribution Center, they receive dozens even hundreds of suppliers at their inbound area and also do consolidation of the items before they delivered to hundreds of their outlets with the various order quantity per outlet.
There are 3 primary activities in Distribution Center :
1. How to manage flow of physical goods. They receive large volume from dozens of suppliers, doing put away on their storage and deliver goods to hundreds of outlets daily or at least twice in three days. They manage this flow day to day with high speed operation
2. How to manage demand from the outlets and supply from supplier, so that they have an optimum inventory level and adequate storage space.
3. How to manage dozens of trucks(whether own or rent) and also how to manage drivers.
From these activities there are some problems that may occur in Distribution Center Operation such as : inventory loss, mis-delivery, space shortage, not on time in delivery, and high stress level of employees
What are the causes?
In my opinion the problems can be occur because lack of control, deep analysis, action and improvement to anticipate indicative or symptom of problems.
For example lack of space availability in Distribution Center storage area, which is cause they start to put products on aisle or gang way, then they start to hard to doing stock opname or cycle count, as the result they have inaccurate inventory data.
In that example , Management should understand the indicative or symptom, they need to do deep analysis and lead a corrective action to improve the situation such as : negotiate to reducing suppliers lead time, write off some slow moving products, adding more temporary storage or even build a new space to anticipate long term volume growth.
Other cause of problems on Distribution Center operation is a some of traditional management perspective. They reluctant to invest on technology, information systems or device to increase performance of Distribution Center. They still consider Distribution Center as a support function in a company and high investment on this area would not give short term impact for the Company
Where have you involve in a project for solving the problems?
I involved in a few projects to do an optimization and improvement on Distribution Center Operation.
First I involved in a project team to do an analysis in developing a new model of Distribution Center that running with high number of workers and manual working method. We do an analysis and propose to use new technology and devices such as handheld, conveyor belt, pick/put to light method and forklift monitor. This new Distribution Center model reduce workers around 100-150 people and also increase productivity significantly.
Other project that i involved was in designing blueprint Warehouse Management Systems application that directly impact to simplify daily operation. The key feature in this Warehouse Management Systems applications the connection between the application with handheld devices that use to operational activity such as receiving, picking, issuing, stock opname. It is increase speed and data accuracy, promptness in operational, simplicity in issuing and receiving, also easiness in doing stock opname in warehouse
Both of these projects are an example of my involvement in projects to minimize the problems in Distribution Center for retail industry. In my opinion the Distribution Center Operation in retail industry must capable to operate in high speed and large volume of product, reliable to operate almost every days,seven days a week and three hundred sixty five days a year.
About Leonard Merari Situmeang
Leonard Merari Situmeang
Consultant and Trainer