Things to Know Before Breaking Ground on a New Distribution Center

February 18, 2018 9:28 am

Forming a distribution center (DC) is a big deal. There are many important things to consider before committing yourself however. For example, make absolutely sure you have executive buy-in. You need to be positive everyone is on board before proceeding, or else the process will take even longer.

Then, there is making sure that everyone is on the same wavelength. Everyone needs to agree—not just the facility design team, but the people of operations, finance, IT, and so on. Collaboration is essential to create the best possible outcome. Some people know things you don’t, and you know some things others don’t. Put your heads together and combine your individual skills.

Important Things to Consider
Of course, you have to make sure you have every little piece of info on the design of the building. Keeping track of certain data like what kinds of storage medium you have available to you or if there are variations in demand will help facilitate the distribution center you are planning. Being organized from the start and having the right priorities can make all the difference in creating your new distribution center. Options like heavy duty storage shelving keep your distribution center organized from day one.

Next, think about what processes are currently in place in your distribution center. Keeping in mind the practices of other distribution centers can help influence your new one. A tip: Get this information from those who work in the warehouse. They have a better feel for the culture than higher-up management does.

• Business Planning
No one can predict the future, but it’s important to keep in mind what the future of your business holds. Take a look at the company’s long-term business plans to see what’s to come within the next 5 to 10 years. This will prepare you to adapt your business to whatever changes that occur.

That’s why it is essential you evaluate the flexibility of your facility. Changes can happen fast, and you need to make sure you are flexible enough to acclimate to those changes. A clean and efficient storage area minimizes downtime to keep your business operations streamlined. Systems such as metal storage shelving take the guesswork out of organizing your inventory and supplies so you can focus on business planning and growth.

• IT Systems
You need to make sure your IT system can adapt too. Things like warehouse management systems, enterprise resource systems, order management systems, etc. might have limitations within your new distribution center.

• Natural Disasters
Then, we must consider the risks that your site may be exposed to, like natural disasters. Events like earthquakes, hurricanes and fires can be completely unpredictable. According to FM Global, you should try to create the distribution center to be at least a foot outside of the 500-year flood zone if possible.

It is also wise to consider the infrastructure and resources that are already in use in the community the distribution center is built on. In addition, be aware of your neighbors—what if your facility is next to a chemical plant, making your distribution center more vulnerable? Stocking heavy duty industrial shelving with necessary supplies is a smart decision for safety planning in the event of a natural disaster that effects your site.

Lastly, take your time. Do not rush this process. Give yourself at least three months to explore and analyze the potential location of your distribution center. Use this time to gather all possible information.

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