ABM Distribution Facility Services 2Warehousing and distribution centers should evaluate facility services.

By Eric Kirchhoefer

Meeting customer expectations safely and costeffectively is often the biggest concern in warehousing and distribution environments. To meet those objectives, you depend on your facility to run effectively and efficiently. As consumer expectations, technology and the retail landscape have changed, you probably have responded by making incremental changes to your facility services program over the years.

It’s also a good idea to examine your program holistically from time to time. Should you consider outsourcing to help you reach your goals? Or if you already outsource, how well is your current provider doing? Maybe it’s time to make a switch or integrate multiple services with one company. Here’s what to consider when you're re-evaluating your facility services program.

If you’re not already outsourcing your facility services, there are several good reasons to consider it. The two primary factors that you should look at when making the transition to outsourcing are staffing and service quality.

 ELECTRONIC LOGS 01Electronic logs offer many operational benefits.

By Eric Witty

Electronic logging devices (ELDs) have been a big topic of conversation across the transportation and logistics industry, particularly as the deadline for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s electronic logging device mandate approaches. This mandate aims to provide a technology solution that will help reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities in the trucking industry. Fleets have until Dec. 18, 2017, to implement ELDs.

 DISASTER RECOVERY 01Recovery plans are crucial for your operations.

By Kevin Beasley

When a disaster strikes, businesses have many concerns including protecting employees and property and supporting customers. However, a business’s information and technology assets are also at risk and if destroyed, the loss can devastate businesses. According to FEMA, 40 percent of businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster.

Going beyond natural disasters, cyberattacks are at an all-time high, and in today’s IoT driven workplace, a case of malware can easily compromise an entire business. Having a disaster recovery plan can save businesses, and when it comes to warehouses and distribution centers, there are countless assets that need protection.

 CROSSING BOUNDARIES 01Blur the lines between traditional channels.
By Sam Levy

When an American jazz musician and Latvian recording engineer founded Westlake, Calif.-based Blue Microphones in 1995, they did so with the intention to design and manufacture microphones for professional musicians such as themselves. But it was a willingness to take on the consumer market with the launch of the “Snowball” USB microphone for use with Apple’s Garage Band recording software that incited rapid growth to the consistent tune of 35 percent annually.

As its product lines and reach grew, so did the ways in which its different types of customers wanted to access those products, prompting Blue Microphones to innovate across traditional industry lines and deliver capabilities not only of a manufacturer, but also as a retailer and wholesale distributor.

 COMMUNICATION 01Mass notification systems can bring business success.

By Brett Andrew

Modern mass notification technology is for more than just emergencies, and it’s no longer just used by schools and municipalities. Today, all companies benefit from reaching their employees quickly over any communication channel like text, voice calls, emails and mobile application (app) pushes. With the increased accessibility and two-way communication features found in today’s notification systems, your company can quickly and affordably deploy communication technology that can improve many areas of your business. The right system, coupled with strong communication practices, will keep your people safe, informed and connected.

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCEPreventative Maintenance is a must for distributors.

By Eric Kirchhoefer

There are two common approaches to keeping things running smoothly in your warehouse or distribution center: proactive and reactive. The reactive approach is common in many environments – facility managers often wait until machinery breaks down or there is a problem, and then attend to those issues as needed.

A proactive approach to maintenance places emphasis on routinely addressing facility concerns and equipment upkeep to prevent issues. Regular inspections allow you to identify and correct potential problems before they happen. In addition to inspections, minor equipment maintenance, cleaning, and seasonal adjustments are all key components of a strong preventive maintenance program.

OPERATIONSNew processes are necessary for your organization.

By Scott Deutsch

I recently visited a third-generation wholesale distributor whose business was being challenged by its customers’ growing service level expectations. It appeared to the company’s owner that consumer supply chain advancements were hindering his business’ ability to keep up while providing no protection to its profitability.

While the business attempted to keep up with the times, its technology infrastructure investments have been targeted. Much of its investments have been around improving the technical knowledge of its sales and support teams to further differentiate and create a value proposition that has been able to limit margin shrinkage. The company has also invested heavily in its fleet operations, which has enabled its to greatly expand their delivery frequency and reduce parcel costs dramatically.

OP NON DURABLEBy Angela Fernandez

With so many ways to order take-out, dine out or prepare food at home, it’s a great time to be a consumer. Not only do our smart devices provide direct access to ingredients, allergens, recommendations and sustainability information, we have varied delivery and pick-up options and new services that personalize and curate our meal experiences. 

In this data-driven marketplace, it could not be more critical for foodservice businesses to improve data accuracy and operational efficiencies. Foodservice distributors recognize that they can play a key role in enabling the fast and accurate flow of data through proactive collaboration with manufacturers, operators and other supply chain partners. Through the Foodservice GS1 US Standards Initiative, innovative distributors work together to drive waste out of the foodservice supply chain, improve product information, and enhance food traceability. They achieve these goals using the GS1 System of Standards, which include unique product identification numbers, data capture methods such as barcodes, and the Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN), which enables trading partners to globally exchange product information in an automatic and efficient way.

GS1 US recently interviewed executives from two leading foodservice distribution companies — Dot Foods and Gordon Food Service — who play a leadership role in the initiative. They shared their views on three key topics that shed light on how distributors have become a critical link in the foodservice supply chain in the data-driven marketplace. 

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