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Distribution Digest

Holste's "Sorting it Out" Blog

Poor System Performance May Be the Accumulated Affect of Many Small Problems

Avoiding the ‘Death by 1,000 Cuts’ Syndrome


At some point in the evolution of the typical order fulfillment operation, no matter how well managed, small inefficiencies begin to creep-in. Like a thief in the night, they go unnoticed by busy managers, supervisors, and associates. Over time the accumulated affect degrades throughput capacity, lowers productivity and reduces margin. The idiom ‘death by a thousand cuts’ refers to anything that is a slow process in which a multitude of small, bad things happen which ultimately culminate in the demise of the operation.


Operations managers can guard against this type of tangential loss by keeping performance productivity records up-to-date and by implementing a continuous improvement program that is focused on core operations such as, Receiving, Putaway, Storage, Picking and Shipping. This is not to suggest that value added services (VAS) should be ignored. However, customer specific VAS is often a relatively short-term setup and closely supervised. Whereas, core operation are on-going and tend to be taken for granted.


Based on interviews with logistics executives and operations managers, we have assembled the following suggestion for preventing core operations from degrading...


Cliff Holste is SCDigest's Material Handling Editor,
and author of our Sorting it Out Column/Blog
Our Bloggers
Sorting It Out: Poor System Performance May Be the Accumulated Affect of Many Small Problems
Avoiding the ‘Death by 1,000 Cuts’ Syndrome
Sorting It Out: Guidelines for Achieving a Successful Audit
When Considering an Audit Clearly Define the Deliverables
Sorting It Out: Understanding the "Value" of the Distribution Center Audit
DC Audit -The First Step toward Improving Operations
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White Papers / Reports
width=70White Paper: WMS Solutions: Embedded or Best of Breed?
Would a warehouse management system (WMS) help you better manage and automate your warehouse and fulfillment operations? Learn pros and cons of ERP WMS vs Best-of-Breed.

width=70White Paper: Managing Spend in A Distribution Environment
Supplier Relationship Management and the Distribution Enterprise:A suite provides enterprises with the necessary tools and solutions to achieve optimal performance in supplier relationships.

width=70Material Handling Tech Note: Conveyor Improvements Drive Flexibility
In this Materials Handling Technology Note, we review how recent advances across several areas of conveyor technology are improving the flexibility of system design and later modifications for materials handling systems.

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video cast
Using Multi-Modal Wireless Technology to Drive Productivity Gains in Distribution



Why the Time is Right for Labor Management Systems in Distribution


Tools and Resources
Logistics News: What Does a Sortation System for Distribution Cost?
Baseline Systems Can Be Implemented for about $1 Million; Wal-Mart Level? Do not Ask
Warehouse Management System (WMS) Resource Page
Find information, expert insight, vendors solutions, a video overview, case studies and more Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). Includes recent downloadable edition of Supply Chain Digest Letter on WMS.
Labor Management System (LMS) Resource Page
Find information, expert insight, vendors solutions, a video overview, case studies and more on the Supply Chain Digest Letter on Labor Management Systems in Distribution
Supply Chain Question: Calculating Distribution Center Capacity
Supply Chain Question: How to Calculate Discount for Customer Freight Pick-Up?
Reader Question: Reducing Sort Lanes to Reduce DC Costs
New Materials Handling Tech Notes

The first analytic reports for the materials handling and distribution industry.

This report: Advances in Conveyor Technology increasing System Flexibility


Labor Management System
(LMS) Overview

Present by SCDigest Editor Dan Gilmore

View our Complete Labor Management System Resources Page

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