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DCwise Insights - The reason why Warehousing needs to work on it's "looks"!

Updated: Jun 23, 2021

▶ shares in this a step-wise approach for reviewing the opportunities for improvement in your warehouse processes. In this post we tackle the topic of processes no longer functioning properly.

Before diving into the improvement process its best to have a "common" understanding on some of foundational elements.

We investigate the following elements to analyze your processing-solution:

1️⃣️ Added Value – what are the steps that really need to be done?

"Oversimplified" a process is made up out of elements that add value and others that are not really adding value. Ideally a process is stripped to only having value-adding steps or at least made as lean as possible (i.e., comprising a minimal amount of "process fat"). think in this off for example movement such as picking up a pallet and dropping it again some meters further without changing anything to the goods ...

To tackle this one can, start with looking at the question: "How does the material/value flow?" This is done by a process called "Value Stream Mapping". Essential is breaking up the streams up in flows and their steps. Secondly for every step it is determined what the added value is and if possible, what is not adding value.

Basic examples:

- Placing goods in storage has added value if they are not needed immediately.

- Moving goods out of the way to allow further processing does not really add value

2️⃣️️ Resources - what resources are used to execute?

The execution of a process is done by leveraging resources such as forklifts, hand-jacks, and off course often people manning them.

In this element we want to get better insights on what are the available resources that can be leveraged and what are their capacities? Visibility is created by creating a "Resource map" in which in a clear way (preferably lay-out based) a "view" is created on the different used resources.

3️⃣️️ Operational planning – how is all managed?

In this we rely on the "Operational model". What is the plan? How are the different resources deployed to achieve the goals? Is there are different approach over time? Also, the link with the lay-out is made here.

Note that the time-element needs to be captured properly. If the needs are very strict in timing (think of online sales etc.) vs for example a "relaxed" need as within 2 days shipping; essential is that a clear picture should be made of this.

4️⃣️️ Instructions – how are the resources leveraged?

This is the lowest level and includes the "Standard work instructions", but with all the automation this also links up to the programming or instructing of the robots, cobots, AMRs, conveyors, etc. In the end it comprises all the instruction-sets.

Question is how are the people, equipment, systems, etc. instructed to operate? How do they need to respond to different scenario’s, including normal ones, but how are also exceptional? And are they following the instructions, working following the same standard methods, etc.?

👉 Important is to understand all these concepts first. Once you do one can start with the stepwise analysis. To come to a healthy processing solution these elements are then integrated in the DCwise approach.

In this you go step by step through the following steps while leveraging the knowledge of the 4 building blocks:

1️⃣️ Facility Scan - Review of the current operation.

Assessing the "current value streams", "resources", "operational planning”, ... In this one map out what the needs are, what’s happening, what (doesn't) works well, etc. One could see this as the on-boarding where the basics elements, requirements, ... are cleared out.

️️⃣2️⃣️ Data Analysis – Detailed data review.

With all the information gathered in the previous step this should result in as well an ASIS data-model and a TOBE data-model to define your processing needs.

Next step is to analyze and turn the data into information. What are the issues, bottlenecks, etc. Challenge here is to go into the data up to right level.

Note that when you start to lose overview then get the focus back by using the Pareto rule.

️⃣️3️⃣️ Solution Engineering - The search for the improvement.

With the help of the quantitative analysis, the listed business requirements, the industry best-practices and out of the box thinking one should come to a best-fit solution.

The better or more "clear" steps 1️⃣️ and 2️⃣️ are the "easier" the solution engineering becomes. In this don't hesitate to involve where needed subject matter experts in racking, system, business and so on.

Note that besides the business needs the Return on Investment will assist in selecting the right solution.

️⃣️4️⃣️ Implementation - Turning a solution into reality.

Finally, the solution - and all the hard work - needs to become reality.

Essential is to first plan the transformation and then execute and properly follow-up upon the implementation. In this depending of the size and challenges build in the right change management, towards processes, people and so on.

More interesting information can be found @ our blog.

Want to start the transformation of your warehouse operations?

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