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Dirty-Finger Test Reveals the Condition of a Distribution Center and the Effectiveness of the Warehouse Management

Industry expert shares his six-point check list for evaluating how effectively a distribution center is run. Each point is based on a common-sense rule learned from his mother.

(Boonton, NJ, February 24, 2011) — John M. Hill of TranSystems has visited hundreds of warehouses around the globe, and he has found half a dozen quick and easy ways to tell how effectively a DC is run.

His checklist has little to do with the arcana of warehouse management systems or sophisticated slotting models and everything to do with his mother's rules for cleanliness.

In the February issue of industry newsletter, Distribution Center Management, Hill explains that his mom demanded that her kids keep their rooms spotless and scrub behind their ears, and Hill himself has found that attention to basic details can mean a lot in the DC.

His six-point check list includes the "dirty-finger test."

While walking through the storage or picking areas closest to the shipping docks, drag a finger across the tops of the stored pallets, cases, or items and check that finger every 10 or 15 feet.

The quicker your finger gets dirty, the greater the problem with improper storage of slow-moving materials. Fast movers, not slow, should be located nearest to shipping to reduce travel times and speed trailer turnaround time.

All six of Hill's common-sense tips appear in the February issue of Distribution Center Management.


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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.

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