Taking advantage of the credit crunch

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More evidence of the impact of the credit crunch on supply chains comes from the Aberdeen Group, which suggests that adopting technology to improve productivity will help businesses in the supply chain weather the storm.

The report, “Agile Logistics: Transforming the Distribution Centre” highlights the pressures facing logisticians in supporting increased sales without increased staffing of space.

Its survey of businesses worldwide found that 67 per cent were looking to improve their warehouse processes within the next 12 months, with 32 per cent planning to upgrade or enhance their warehouse management system.

Bob Shecterle, SVP and group director of research at Aberdeen, says: “Despite the economic slowdown, companies that are truly looking to create best-in-class distribution centres are taking advantage of the next wave of progress and technology investments.”

The study found that some 78 per cent of best-in-class companies deployed a centralised direction of processes at the warehousing stage, in the form of voice-activated picking software or an RFID tagging system, in use by all the warehouse operatives.

And it reckoned that by 2009, over 50 per cent of the leading companies surveyed worldwide would be using additional warehouse technology, including voice-recognition applications, labour management software, mobile computers, and automated storage and retrieval equipment.

The report serves to highlight the fact that greater agility provides the flexibility to deal with rapid changes in the market and improve the performance of the supply chain. And that can enable companies to gain a competitive advantage – particularly when trading conditions become more difficult.

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