I would like to nominate Paul Zale as an inside the distribution center Supply Chain Superstar.
When I first met Paul he was the engineering manager at Pearson Education, Indianapolis, Indiana facility. Immediately I recognized that Paul had an excellent ability to see how tens of thousands of individual product SKU’s, cartons and pallets should move within their DC. You can imagine the amount of books moving inside their facility supplying eager to learn students from kindergarten to grade 12 and then through university. Pearson Ed is the world’s largest distributor of books and the DC Paul was stationed at supplied them from California to the Ohio River, from South Texas to the Canadian border.
As engineering manager and eventually becoming director of engineering, Paul was responsible for the home site in Indy and also responsible for international design and construction. His best stories were when he described events from the India and Spain construction projects. The size of each facility and automation that went into each facility depended on the labor market, the order profiles and stock required. This didn’t seem to faze Paul at all. From the most complex to basic automation, Paul seemed to understand not only how it worked but also the basics of throughput and limitations. He was even describing a document automation system we provided to a customer who I took on a site visit better than I could. From the large shipping sorter, all of the (seemingly) miles of conveyors, into complex devices and then down to photo-eyes and barcode labels and scanners, Paul new and described each system with ease.
The projects I worked on with Paul increased efficiency, processed orders quicker, reduced labor costs, reduced errors, reduced the overall fulfillment cycle, increased order accuracy and increased customer satisfaction. Paul saw the expected ROI and the payback was a few short months for projects investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Paul has since moved on to start his own company, consulting from project design to completion after his 14 month stay as Vice President of Engineering Services for an apparel and fashion company. If you’re looking for someone to discuss (and maybe contract) the best movement of goods (from A-Z) within your fulfillment and/or distribution center, Paul is one of the best.