Automating warehouse operations can be a very alluring proposition. However, it is vital that a decision to progress with such substantial investment is taken only after the deliverable benefits are thoroughly understood. This is especially important when the business environment is changing rapidly. Describes the approach taken by B&Q to decide on the appropriate level of automation; explains how, through a process of establishing good performance through manual processes, it has created a sound base against which it can evaluate automation, and how its new supply chain strategy has exposed further opportunities to improve business performance. Also describes how B&Q Distribution has renewed its focus on serving the customer (the B&Q retail store), and how this experience has affected the automation project. Finally, covers B&Q’s approach to supplier selection.
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