Distribution center (DC) and fulfillment center (FC) operations are central to every supply chain.
As customer and market demands continue to change, having the right distribution and fulfillment strategy is more important than ever to ensure your company’s success.
Tompkins’ DC/FC solutions are customized based on your specific business requirements and value-engineered to maximize ROI. We identify your unique needs and evaluate multiple solutions to determine the optimal layout, equipment, technology, automation and labor requirements to provide the greatest capabilities and value over the life of your facility. The result is an agile solution capable of meeting your current and future business requirements and supporting long-term profitable growth.
Don’t just take it from us. Learn how our projects deliver on our promise of high impact, high value and high confidence in the client examples below.
Consumer Products Company
Multiple inefficient facilities unable to handle the company’s exponential growth and constantly changing product dimensions
- DC redesign focused on increased efficiency, capacity and organization
- Flexible material handling equipment with increased SKU selectivity
- Increased inventory storage capacity by more than 25%
- Achieved 400% increase in SKU locations
Natural Consumer Goods Company
Network Study, DC Design & Implementation
Current distribution operations and network unable to accommodate rapid growth
- Facility design and material handling systems capable of supporting high order volumes
- Optimized network focused on increased efficiency and capacity
- Increased capacity by 204%
- Reduced labor requirements by 38%
Pop Culture Retail Chain
Strategic Master Plan, DC Design & Implementation
Current distribution operations unable to accommodate strong sales growth and brand additions
- DC design and operations focused on increased efficiency and capacity
- Material handling equipment capable of supporting improved fulfillment and service levels
- Developed detailed designs for two facilities including a 200,000-square-foot expansion to an existing building
- Conducted a multi-phased implementation without impacting current operations
Business Case Development
A recommended path forward is the final step in any design project or assessment. For a recommendation to become a reality, stakeholders must be shown why they should invest in the solution.
Tompkins has years of experience developing business cases working finance departments to determine which financial metrics that drive the stakeholders’ decision-making. Whether an organization’s goals are monetary or not, Tompkins presents the business case, without bias, and routinely provides all supporting data, analyses and layouts to the organization.
Facility Flow & Layout
Streamlining the flow of information, work and materials is key to reducing costs and increasing speed in any operation. A well-designed facility layout integrates all functions in such a way that people, materials and equipment operate as a single, highly efficient system.
Tompkins incorporates engineering-based principles to design efficient, pragmatic flows into our layouts. An effective layout requires less equipment, capital and maintenance. Tompkins considers many other factors when designing flows and layouts, including the following:
- Space and cube utilization
- Flexibility and expandability
- Ample staging/dock space
- Impacts on employee morale and satisfaction
- Sales and promotional value
- Safety and security
- Traffic patterns
Labor is one of the largest expenses in a typical distribution or fulfillment center. With the ongoing labor shortage, increasing productivity and its associated cost reductions are the foundation for any business case associated with reengineering a distribution or fulfillment center. These savings can come from any of the following:
- Reduced travel
- Reduced idle and non-productive work time
- Processing of larger batches
- Elimination of redundant tasks via automation
- Reduced product touches
- Reduced fatigue using more ergonomic work areas and tools
- Automating decisions and location identification
Order Fulfillment Design
Order fulfillment is typically the last chance an organization has to make a positive impression on the customer. Product design, marketing and customer service can all be diminished in the eyes of the customer if they do not receive a perfect order. In today’s dynamic business environment, order fulfillment designs must be agile and capable of adapting to rapid and frequent changes in demand to ensure a seamless customer experience.
Every organization is unique in their business requirements, strategies and customers. The best solutions come from the analysis of historical data, modeling of future growth and requirements, application of experience and new technology, engineering of the layouts and flows and finally the finance of building the business case. From the replenishment of pick faces through value-added services, packing and shipping, Tompkins’ methodology and approach fulfills our promise of “automation results you can count on.” Characterizations of our order fulfillment designs include:
Storage and Material Handling Solutions
The storage and handling of materials and inventory are core to a distribution or fulfillment center’s function. Employing the correct type and amount of equipment is crucial for efficient operations. Tompkins understands that just utilizing a facility’s cubic space is not enough—the organization’s business strategy must be understood in order to design a solution that is best for them. The solution must also be designed to maximize labor productivity and complement other operations in the facility. An efficient facility must include the following:
- Engineered layouts based on recommended spacings for operating aisles, unit loads and broken case storage with the appropriate level of automation, and fire protection
- Aisles and traffic areas free of inventory
- Sufficient storage locations to eliminate storage gridlock
- Congestion-free storage aisles and goods to person workstations
- Separate truck, robotic automation and pedestrian traffic aisles
- Correctly sized storage locations
- Logical location numbering to reduce deadheading and training requirements
The only constant is change, and when it happens organizations need to be flexible to reduce risk and continue to service the customers. Tactical plans can be initiated immediately or within a short period of time, typically with low capital requirements. Tompkins’ approach towards tactical planning includes assessing the current operation, determining business requirements, identifying gaps between the current operation and best practices, developing opportunities to improve the operation and prioritizing opportunities based on the following:
- Alignment with the organization’s goals
- Positive impact for the organization
- Proper timing to minimize disruption caused by implementation
- Capital investment