Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Designing distribution centres for agile supply chains

By Peter Baker


Increasing globalisation and market volatility represent major challenges for many supply chains, and particularly for the distribution centres within them. This paper examines how distribution centres are being designed to be agile even though they are, by their nature, long-term fixed assets. The research is based on semi-structured interviews with warehouse design companies to identify the range of agility types that were regarded as necessary during the design phase, and how these were addressed. The research also explores the cost, time and service level implications, whilst handling variances in demand or supply. The interviewee responses are expressed in terms of qualitative measures on Likert scales. The results indicate that there is generally a slightly or moderately higher cost to design for agility. Based on the literature and the case study responses, a methodology is developed of how to address agility within warehouse design, and areas of further research are identified

Topics: Agility, Flexibility, Distribution centres, Warehousing
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13675560600859136
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

Suggested articles


  1. (2002). A framework for the design of warehouse layout. Facilities, doi
  2. (2002). A process model and support tools for warehouse design.
  3. (1996). An empirical study of manufacturing flexibility in printed circuit board assembly. Operations Research, doi
  4. (2001). An integrated model for the design of agile supply chains. doi
  5. (2001). Automated flexibility.
  6. (2005). Distribution centres in supply chain operations. In Logistics Systems: Design and Optimization, edited by doi
  7. (1992). Economies of scale in customer warehouses: theoretical and empirical analysis.
  8. (2000). Engineering supply chains to match customer requirements. Logistics Information Management, doi
  9. (2000). Engineering the leagile supply chain. doi
  10. (2001). Epilogue: moving forward with agility. doi
  11. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. doi
  12. (2001). International supply chain agility: tradeoffs between flexibility and uncertainty. doi
  13. (1999). Leagility: integrating the lean and agile manufacturing paradigms in the total supply chain. doi
  14. (2001). Measuring agile capabilities in the supply chain. doi
  15. Supply Chain Strategy: the Logistics of Supply Chain Management, doi
  16. (2000). The agile supply chain: competing in volatile markets. Industrial Marketing Management, doi
  17. (1994). The management of manufacturing flexibility. doi
  18. (2000). The Principles of Warehouse Design, 2 nd edition,
  19. (2003). The strategic integration of agile and lean supply. doi
  20. (1999). Total cycle time compression and the agile supply chain. doi
  21. (2002). Transshipments: an emerging inventory recourse to achieve supply chain leagility. doi
  22. (2003). Upping the stakes. Logistics Europe,
  23. Value chain flexibility: a dichotomy of competence and capability. doi
  24. (1999). Virtual teaming in the agile supply chain. doi
  25. Warehouse design and control: framework and literature review. doi
  26. (2004). Warehousing: The Evolution Continues,
  27. World-Class Warehousing and Material Handling,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.