Warehousing is a vital function in any supply chain related to physical goods. It impacts the supply chain right from sourcing raw materials till the time an order is delivered to the customer – end user or retail store. With evolving warehousing tech and its demand, it’s important you know the basics of warehousing solutions and their key elements.
Basic Introduction to Warehousing
Warehousing refers to the activity of storing physical goods, called as inventory, in a storage facility before they are distributed to a retail store or sold to an end customer. As different products / goods are available in different sizes, they are securely stored in an organized manner in warehouse facilities, such that they can be easily retrieved for distribution when required.
Usually, small businesses start with storing goods in their own space like house, garage, office, etc. and it is only later on when they are well established with demand from a bigger geographical area that they require bigger storage space and third-party assistance for undertaking warehousing functions.
The need for warehousing solutions changes from business to business, however, the basic requirement remains the same.
Example, a regular retail store requires warehousing to keep new stock ready so that there is no loss in revenue due to unavailability of the products. In this case, goods are brought from the manufacturer, stored in the warehouse and distributed to the store when required.
An e-commerce business requires warehousing to keep the stock ready for delivery whenever they receive an order. This helps them fulfill their customer’s demand within the desired delivery timeline.
Key Elements of Warehousing Solutions
Warehousing solutions refer to not just simply storing goods in a storage space, there are a few other elements that make warehousing one of the core functions of any company’s supply chain. Here’s a closer look at the 3 key elements of warehousing solutions:
- Warehouse Management – Warehouse management refers to overseeing day-to-day operations of a warehouse. This includes staff supervision, training, equipment handling, inventory management, safety, security, surveillance, etc. Everything related to efficiently handling the routine warehousing operations comes under warehouse management. Functions like:
- Planning and setting up bins, racks and shelves to ensure optimal utilization of warehouse space and effort
- Planning and managing operations as per the business scale and complexity
- Recording all inbound and outbound shipments along with required documents
- Projecting volume and required labor for the functions
- Compliance management
- Procuring required licenses and certifications
- Keeping books and reports ready for audit whenever needed
- All safety gear is in place and best practices are followed within the facility
- Warehouse Operations – All processes related to movement and tracking of inventory fall under warehouse operations. A good warehousing solution provider ensures efficient warehousing operations that benefit the business in multiple ways, like:
- Lowering costs
- Better inventory turnaround time
- Enough inventory at hand
- Better space and effort utilization
- Optimal usage of equipments
- Productive staff
- Timely reports
- Warehouse Management System (WMS) – It is essentially a software tool that helps in eliminating manual processes and help in efficiently handle the warehouse operations, managing and tracking inventor from receipt to distribution. A good WMS tool is a must-have these days. WMS provides a clear visibility and insight to all the related stakeholders and keeps them updated about all the movements in the warehouse, in real time. A WMS also helps in generating timely reports that further helps in making business decisions.
If you are looking to start warehousing logistics in-house or outsource it to a specialist, ensure all the above key elements are in place. In one of our previous posts, we have listed some top reasons why outsourcing warehousing might be a good choice for your business.
Choosing Right Warehousing Solutions Provider
Supply chains have evolved and become more dynamic post-pandemic, warehousing plays an important part in the success of the supply chain. From storing raw materials sourced from one place, to be moved to manufacturers, to sourcing finished goods from manufacturers to the warehouses, assembling and shipping to the final destination – is sensitive and needs to be handled as required. You will require to be on top of all the warehousing activities, to ensure your supply chain in smooth. If you are looking for warehousing consultancy or outsourcing the function, evaluate our services. Send in your enquiry here.