The Best Practices in Designing a Perfect Global Distribution Center


This best practice is called “implementing global design in the distribution center”. Let us say when you go to Walmart in Atlanta it looks one way and then let’s say you go to Walmart in Cincinnati, Ohio it looks completely different.

It will be difficult fit for you to navigate to get even a simple cough syrup that you want to pick up. It will be much easier by the fact that if all the Walmart’s look alike and as soon as you enter and by going to the left you can find the pharmacy isles and you can get whatever you want. 

Taking this concept and applying it in your network of distribution centers, which is a big supply chain network will be helpful. Typically you are a retailer that moves the product merchandise all over the US. There is typically one in the east coast and one in the west coast or one in the Texas or Midwest and one in the Mid-Tex. 

Following this approach you can make all your distribution centers look similar or even from a configuration perspective and from a systems operations perspective you can set it up to have the same configuration. If you make it look very similar, then you can also implement similar processes between DC1 and DC2, DC2 and DC3.

If all of them are uniform then everything is easy to manage. There are two approaches namely localized approach and centralized approach. 

  1. In the localized approach the local teams operate in a decentralized fashion, which means that the local teams pretty much has the freedom to do whatever they want to do. 
  2. In the centralized approach there will be professionals that come from corporate. There will be a supply chain crew from the corporate and they will institute a uniform structure across all the distribution centers (DC’s). They would go and roll out one by one, people from one facility would come and help with the other facility. As they were part of the previous implementation which will help them to leverage a lot of those resources. 
  3. Another thing that you could aspire to is, you can make any facility handle any SKU so that becomes a much more flexible model. Depending on the location of the customer, you can move your product through any facility by any way possible, which gives you a lot of flexibility. 
  4. The next thing is you can optimize the processes across your supply chain network i.e. across the different facilities without having to reinvent the process again from one facility to another. 

Implementing the same set of processes across all the facilities is easier with the different systemic elements and systemic entities having similar nomenclature for the locations such as reserve locations, active locations, staging locations and drop locations. That just makes the process more efficient to handle across the entire supply chain. 

Hopefully this is helpful and please share your thoughts and comments below.

Originally published at on July 2, 2019.

Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at Also follow him at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.