Warehouses are part of the sophisticated industry popularly known as logistic management, including product procurement, inventory, and distribution. Typically, all warehouses are similar but also different, a very contradictory statement. How so? All warehouses share the same seven key aspects we will discuss in this article. The differences come in how each process is conducted. There are a plethora of ways in which each process is electronically controlled and physically manipulated. For instance, two companies offering the same products will often have separate ways of doing things. All warehouses are not the same, and if you are looking for warehousing services, you could try here to find custom storage solutions.
The Basics Of Warehousing That You Should Know
Warehousing is all about storing goods that will be distributed or sold later. While small businesses may warehouse products at spaces in their basement, garage, or spare room, large companies typically require rent spaces typically designed for storage. Whether you need a warehouse strictly for storage purposes or inclusive of distribution, warehouses have specific elements that help distributors, retailers, and manufacturers store safely and monitor inventory. The fundamental features include:
- Rack and shelving systems for maximum storage and product access
- Climate control systems are particularly essential for products that require refrigeration, such as laboratory and pharmaceutical products and other items that require storage away from much heat.
- Inventory Control System that informs the product owner of the location of all individual units in the system.
- Equipment such as forklifts and bins for moving and holding products.
- Supplies for shipping orders
- A human resource to load products and manage distribution and the facility
- Security for product protection
- Access to transportation to move and bring products
Warehousing is not a low-tech business, as most people would believe. It is a high-tech industry run by billions of companies with big names. While each warehousing company has a diverse specialty in the process, they all share the seven predominant service offerings described below.
1. Pick And Pack
This service is mainly offered by businesses that primarily focus on supply chain management solutions. The service entails processing small and large products, picking products for specific destinations, and repackaging while including shipping labels and inventory. Most companies use the Warehouse Management System (WMS) to manage the warehouse’s transfer of items and storage.
Most warehouse companies do sub-assembly tasks for their clients. This entails receiving multiple products to the warehouse, assembling, inspection, repackaging, and finally shipping the products to their clients. Subassembly involves collecting parts and putting them together to form a more oversized final item.
Site location services help companies find the perfect location for their distribution center or warehouse and are usually determined by where they are sourced and shipping. A warehouse located far from the customers and clients would lead to high logistic costs.
4. Distribution Center Management
The distribution center typically manages shipments and inventory. It means that they will be responsible for receiving payments, processing orders, restocking, sorting, and shipping. Often, they use the Distribution Center Management System (DCMS) to track activities at the warehouse.
5. Vendor Managed Inventory (VMI)
VMI is a collection of business models where customers of specific products provide information to their suppliers. Through the VMI, the supplier is fully responsible for maintaining a particular amount of materials at the buyer’s location to reduce the buyer’s chances of going out of stock. The VMI tool helps to manage inventory depending on supply and demand.
This logistics process involves an incoming cargo directly loaded from a vehicle onto another mode of transportation. It reduces costs and the need for warehouse storage space and shipping the product to the consumer. You can choose many cross-docking types depending on whether the client is a wholesaler, retailer, manufacturer, or distributor.
Fulfillment is all about preparing an order for delivery and may involve pickup, packaging, and labeling. The fulfillment process varies depending on the client but in most cases includes essential services such as warehousing & storage, order processing, pickup, packaging, shipment, exchanges, and returns, invoicing, call center, and order administration.
Generally, these are the prominent warehouse service offerings shared by most warehouse and distribution centers. However, as the logistics, technology, and online businesses grow, the warehousing industry will also develop, and new service offerings will expand. It is, however, important that the seven processes are the same and at the same time uniquely different for each business.