Short Takes: Bargain Aisle

Low-cost, low-tech, and conservative are still the watchwords in most distribution centers when it comes to investing in material handling equipment. In a recent survey of material handling executives, 48% of the respondents say they have a budget of less than $100,000 a year to buy or upgrade material handling systems. Racks (59%) and conveyors (46%) are the most common additions planned, with systems such as pick-to-light and AS/RS falling far behind.

The study, conducted by Hidalgo & De Vries, Inc., for DPI Material Handling Systems and published in June 2001, drew 231 responses from a sample of 4,418 material handling executives. Participants were primarily involved in product distribution, catalog or mail order retailing, e-commerce, trucking, or warehousing. Eighty percent were operations or warehouse/distribution managers. The median revenue of all the firms responding to the survey was $266.5 million.

Over half of the respondents rank cost as an “extremely important” consideration in choosing a material handling system supplier. “Improving efficiency” gets first place (34%) among the targets that respondents want MHS suppliers to meet. “Maximizing ROI,” follows closely with 33% of the vote, and “cost justification” accounts for 20%. Service and training are near the top of the agenda. Thirty-nine percent of the respondents describe post-installation support as extremely important, and 34% assign the same label to systems training.

Distribution/warehouse and operations executives most often influence decisions about MHS installations. Most of the respondents — 86% — use consultants to help them implement material handling systems. However, only 31% believe that consulting firms are the best-qualified resources to handle MHS design. More than a third would prefer in-house engineers to do the job, and 23% rank manufacturers of material handling systems as the most highly qualified to design them.

For more information, contact DPI at 2845 44th Street SW, Grandville, MI 49418; phone: (800) 294-3190; e-mail:; Web site:

Partner Content

Hincapie Sportswear Finds Omnichannel Success in the Cloud - Netsuite
For more and more companies, a cloud-based unified data solution is the way to make this happen. Custom cycling apparel maker Hincapie Sportswear has leveraged this capability to gain greater visibility into revenue streams, turning opportunities into sales more quickly while gaining overall operating efficiency. Download this ecommerce special report from Multichannel Merchant to more.
The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.