Book Review: ‘Warehouse Management’ Is a Full-Spectrum Analysis
Richards leaned on the expertise of impressive contributors, including Kate Vitasek, author of theVested Outsourcing series of books. If you haven’t read any of them yet, Warehouse Management provides exposure to the basic tenets of Vitasek’s outsourcing philosophy in the chapter on outsourcing.
For being a career specialist in warehouse management, Richards is also clearly well steeped in general business practices and strategy. Most of my notes and underlines in my copy of the book apply to any company department or function looking to improve its contribution to corporate competitive advantage. For example, in the book’s introduction, Richards states, “These advances in technology are likely to lead to a significant reduction in staff and improved efficiency. This comes at a cost, however.” He then writes, “Automating a bad process might make it quicker but certainly doesn’t make it more efficient.”
For professionals trying to tie their roles in logistics, procurement, or purchasing to the larger supply chain, the warehouse becomes a physical epicenter for their efforts as well as an opportunity to observe the evidence of trends and changes in management philosophy. “Greater collaboration within the supply chain both vertically and horizontally will lead to greater consolidation and an increase in shared-user operations,” Richards writes. There is nothing conceptual about greater supply collaboration in the warehouse. Well-intended strategies either work or create bottlenecks that result in operational headaches and higher costs.
Warehouse Management manages to address the full spectrum of knowledge needs on the topic, covering everything from the role of the warehouse and detailed information on picking, to chapters on sustainability, outsourcing, performance management, and the warehouse of the future.
At over 400 pages, you are unlikely to get through everything Warehouse Management has to offer in one airplane ride, but you are quite likely to wear out and dog-ear plenty of pages that address the challenges and opportunities arising daily in the modern warehouse.
Kelly Barner is the co-owner of Buyers Meeting Point, atwww.buyersmeetingpoint.com, an online resource for procurement and purchasing professionals. Her unique perspective on supply management is based on her time as a practitioner, a consultant at a solution provider, and now as an independent thought leader. Kelly has led projects involving members of procurement, supplier, and purchasing teams and has practical skills in strategic sourcing program design and management, opportunity assessment, knowledge management, and custom taxonomy design. She earned her MBA from Babson College, a Master of Science in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and a Bachelor of Arts in English and History from Clark University. In 2012, 2013, and 2014, Kelly was awarded a Provider ‘Pro to Know’ award by Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine, and in 2013 she was also recognized as one of 28 “Top Female Supply Chain Executives.