Package Handling
DCS’s design and engineering team has more than 40 years of experience creating unique parcel handling systems for diverse customer applications. With installations including semi-automated handling in small city distribution centers and fully automated, integrated hubs with advanced conveyor and sorter equipment, DCS routinely thinks outside the box.
E-Commerce and Multi-Channel Fulfillment
DCS designs and implements end-to-end warehouse automation solutions for e-commerce and multi-channel retailers that address numerous workflow challenges. This includes solutions for receiving, putaway, storage, replenishment, order fulfillment, picking, packing, sortation, and outbound shipping. Our custom integrated warehouse, distribution, and fulfillment systems draw from a deep pool of conventional, semi-automated, and automated material handling technologies.
Various Distribution Applications
Whether an operation is considering the construction of a new distribution or fulfillment center, or a retrofit or expansion of an existing facility, it’s important to create a solution that fits the overarching supply chain strategy. DCS has four decades of experience designing and integrating comprehensive, end-to-end material handling solutions that meet a multitude of operational goals. Whether conventional, semi-automated, or fully automated, DCS can help your organization implement a custom solution that meets its goals while maximizing return on investment (ROI).
Supply Chain Consulting
The DCS Supply Chain Consulting team offers a range of services to help your operations address the challenges it faces. Working in partnership with you, DCS consultants analyze your business data- existing workforce, workflow processes, inventory, order data, operations, and more- to determine a strategy that addresses your unique needs. Whether you need an operations assessment, process improvement recommendations, or distribution design services, DCS consultants will help guide you to the material handling system or operational solution that best meets your current and future needs, as well as your budget.
Customer Support
Keeping your warehouse operations and material handling systems running smoothly and at the peak of productivity are the goals of DCS’ Customer Service Team. By partnering with DCS, your warehouse automation solution is supported from commissioning to end of life. You’ll receive comprehensive in-house training of your personnel, including specialized training of your designated internal system expert. Plus, DCS offers a complete package of spare parts and expert system troubleshooting support from qualified engineers dedicated to your installation.
System Design & Integration
DCS offers a broad range of material handling equipment and automated system design, installation, and integration services for a multitude of projects. These include retrofits, expansions, upgrades, and more. While every project is unique, our system design and execution processes are the same, encompassing meticulous attention to detail, frequent communication, and a dedicated partnership with our clients.
About Us
Designed Conveyor Systems (DCS) has 40 years of experience serving major clients in multiple industries by providing material handling, full-scale warehouse operations, and conveyor design solutions that are custom crafted for their needs. DCS does not sell ready-made conveyor systems but builds relationships that empower collaboration to craft custom warehouse designs together. DCS utilizes consulting, engineering design, project management, installation services, and client support to ensure our customers can keep their promises to deliver on time.
With more than 40 years of experience providing automated system design, installation, and integration services, DCS has created solutions for companies throughout the United States in a broad range of industries and markets. We’ve completed more than 1500 projects ranging from greenfield facilities with completely new systems to expansions and retrofits of existing operations.

The Importance of Metrics and Benchmarking

Consider the old adage attributed to management consultant Peter Drucker: “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” That’s absolutely true when it comes to assessing operational performance in warehousing, distribution, and fulfillment — regardless of your industry or role within supply chain.


Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and retailers can all benefit from establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) and measuring their internal functioning against them. Those metrics can effectively illuminate how successfully (or unsuccessfully) an operation is executing against its goals. They also help in benchmarking, or comparing, that performance against others in the same field and industry.


With the copious amounts of data generated by today’s operations, it’s easy to become lost within the flood of information. Let’s face it. Operations managers are busier than ever and facing tough challenges that show no sign of easing anytime soon. They’re struggling with ongoing staffing shortfalls, facing increasing customer demands for fast and free delivery, and drowning in a tsunami of received inventory as port congestion continues to ease. When you’re in the day-to-day trenches, it can be difficult to prioritize performance metrics over just getting stuff out the door.


Yet metrics and benchmarking are crucial to helping an operation identify processes for improvement. Those changes can yield greater efficiency, higher cost savings, better customer service, or reduced dependence on labor. That’s why it’s important to measure operational performance and compare it to others.


Figuring out What to Measure


Whatever the operation, the first step in determining what metrics to track is to identify the company’s overarching goals. The goals of the facility should align with that organizational strategy. Then, look at the data to determine which metrics will have the most impact in meeting those objectives. It’s not just about being introspective in finding data; it’s also about finding the right data to support what the overall operation is trying to accomplish.


In most e-commerce and distribution operations, managers look at order accuracy, fill rates, and on-time shipping. If orders are going out the door most of the time, and are mostly error-free, then that’s good enough performance, right? Maybe. If the company’s goal is to provide exceptional customer service, managers should take a more strategic approach. It’s important to get end customer feedback on what performance metrics are most important to them in order to identify the most impactful data to help an operation improve.


Third-party logistics (3PL) service providers offer a great example of tracking the metrics that matter the most to their customers. In fact, their customers typically specify baseline levels of performance in the contract. Not only do the metrics support agreed upon goals, but the measurements also often tie into incentive-based compensation rates.


In manufacturing, where just-in-time components and parts feed the assembly line, metrics track the amount of safety stock on hand in supermarket storage. This is where items are kitted together for delivery to a certain point in the production process. Speed of replenishment of this storage area from supplier deliveries, also called dock-to-stock cycle time, is important to track. Other metrics document on-time delivery and fill rates, as it is critical to keep the manufacturing line properly supplied to avoid downtime.


Turning Metrics into Improvements


Once an organization has determined which metrics to track, then gathered the data to measure performance, it’s time to compare the findings to both historic internal data and the performance of others. With the right metrics in place, it can help to assess and determine which areas would benefit from improvements to make a business as successful as it can be.


Armed with performance data, an operation can drill down and identify where within the process bottlenecks are occurring, or workflow isn’t as balanced as it should be. Often, managers know there is a problem somewhere, but haven’t been able to identify it. Taking the time to analyze the data can help to pinpoint a previously overlooked issue that, when corrected, can yield significant jumps in performance.


Further, tracking metrics helps operations managers secure funding for internal improvement projects. It’s much easier to cost-justify an investment in a new piece of equipment, method, or process that can increase efficiency by evaluating the data. For example, if erecting and packing shipping cartons by hand is a bottleneck — or, found to be an area where others in the industry perform better during benchmarking — that data can support an investigation into other solutions, such as investment in automated packaging equipment.


Companies struggling to convert their findings into actionable areas for improvement can engage an independent consultant to help. By conducting an operations assessment and embarking on a process improvement analysis, a qualified consulting practice can make recommendations to align system performance to improve metrics. For example, if fill rates and on-time completion measurements indicate problems with effectively addressing peak periods during the day or throughout the year, the consultant can offer options to better allocate workers and optimize order flow.


Where to Find Metrics and Benchmarking Guidance


The Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), which is now a part of MHI, has been the definitive source for warehousing performance metrics and benchmarking data over the past two decades. WERC offers a broad range of resources to help companies just starting their metrics journey, as well as those who are already measuring performance refine their practices.


The organization also researches and publishes the DC Measures Annual Survey and Report on Industry Metrics in the spring. It surveys warehouse operators to determine which of a list of 53 metrics are most frequently used. The report publishes those findings, as well as helps companies compare their own performance to that of others to help identify areas for improvement. I personally have used their research and best practice recommendations many times throughout my own career, including working with customers here at DCS.


Struggling to identify the metrics that will best help your operation benchmark and improve its performance? The DCS consulting team loves digging into data to help companies better align their operations with their strategic goals. Connect with us.

AUTHOR: John Knudsen, Project Director,