New Book Takes Zen Approach to Warehouse Management

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Distribution center management is a highly mathematical field, but when it comes to breakthrough thinking and creative solutions, true innovators move beyond the numbers.

In The Zen of Warehouse Management, authors Pat Kelley, True Value Hardware's director of logistics, and Ron Hounsell, director of logistics services for Cadre Technologies, provide 20 Zen principles to help management move beyond the numbers to drive creativity and improved performance throughout their operations.

The first section describes what the authors call a "meltdown DC," where in less than nine months, inventory was doubled, the SKU count increased by 70%, and hourly wage rates were reduced by 22%. The authors no-nonsense, often contrarian, and very Zen approach turned this DC around and made it one of the most productive in its network. This section includes chapters on creating space in the warehouse, maximizing handling productivity, and increasing labor productivity.

Next, the authors turn their attention to the age-old problem of congestion and provide creative strategies for keeping the inbound current, synchronizing order filling, determining the best number of routes in an order filling wave, making timely replenishments, improving inventory accuracy, using teams to create fluid load, and more.

In the final section, the authors describe their success with brainstorming and illustrate how to use this approach to generate the ideas that will create operational efficiencies and cost savings. The authors provide complete details for creating an ongoing brainstorming program including how to run the sessions, how to get people's creative juices flowing, what topics to address, how to track the results, and more. It's an approach that brought the authors over one million dollars in savings in one distribution network.

Like their other books, The Zen of Warehouse Management is written in an engaging style and filled with real-world examples from their combined 60 years of warehousing experience.

The Zen of Warehouse Management is published by the Distribution Group, which provides highly focused publications to help warehouse and distribution center managers improve the performance of their operations.

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