Purpose – This paper aims to report a survey carried out among European distribution centres (EDCs) in The Netherlands. EDCs are forerunners in implementing advanced logistics systems, since they are responsible for the distribution of a manufacturer's products to customers in a larger part of Europe, Middle East and Africa, often with strict service level agreements. Design/methodology/approach – Warehouses with different outsourcing relations (own‐account, dedicated outsourced and public outsourced) are compared on operational aspects, performance, and future developments. Moreover, within the group of own‐account warehouses, especially Asian and American operations are tested for differences. Findings – Outsourced warehouse operations appear to have a higher percentage of error‐free deliveries and to be more flexible than own‐account operations. Based on the literature it was expected that a difference in productivity and quality between American and Asian EDCs would be found. Some differences in operations are found. For example, Asian EDCs put more effort in quality methods and involve more native managers. However, significant differences in productivity and quality levels were not found. Apparently, the differences in operations do not have a substantial effect on the warehouse performance. Originality/value – This paper is a first attempt to compare advanced warehouse operations from different origins, either operated by service providers or not.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 1, 2005
Keywords: Distribution management; Warehousing; Distribution operations; Outsourcing; Operations management