In today’s business environment, the most critical aspect of distribution centers is speed. Best practice is a concept that entails doing the right things using the appropriate tools and ultimately getting desired results.

In the case of businesses such as distribution centers, the expected results would, of course, be making huge profits.

Best practice is beneficial to distribution centers as it significantly:

  • reduces error
  • minimizes labor required
  • cuts down on the cycle time.

Modern distribution centers that have the best practices programs are guaranteed to experience an increased accuracy when carrying out their operations and offer better services to their clients.

Best practices for modern distribution centers

Best practice program is distribution center dependent – what works for one distribution center may not necessarily work for the other.

However, there are some that are applicable across the board such as the four below:

Utilizing advanced shipping notification system – This is popularly known as ASN. In this system, suppliers can in advance identify the receivers. The notification entails the purchase order and information on anticipated arrival time. It requires warehouses to have an overall management system. This method is also useful as managers can preplan for all items that will be received in a day.

Knowing beforehand the expected products, having a system-directed put-away, and knowledge of the arrival time is essential. It simplifies handling of the incoming shipments.

Implementing a vendor compliance program – This program compliments the advanced shipping notification system. Integration of the two systems is highly recommended for modern distribution centers when dealing with suppliers.

These systems enable providers to facilitate maximum efficiency and output for distribution centers in the shortest time possible. More often than not companies will hire a vendor compliance manager on a permanent basis. The aim is to achieve complete compliance and enhance the supplier base that is actively involved in a distribution center’s compliance program.

Using automatic data collection technology – Automatic data collection has numerous advantages that should be taken into consideration by distribution centers. These include:

  • increased productivity
  • greater accuracy
  • reduced costs.

This is achieved via radio frequency identification and bar code identification.

Manage returns – Good management of returns is an essential practice that should be implemented by distribution centers. Managers of warehouses need to regulate inventory of returned goods. It enables tracking of:

  • returned goods to inventory
  • sold goods
  • goods that require repair
  • goods that need to be disposed of.


The above best practices will improve distribution center order picking and make operations run smoothly for higher returns.

To learn more about distribution center management, read this.