14 July 2022
Warehousing is an integral part of almost every company involved in production or trade. Over the years, much has been done to marginalise the importance of warehouses by relying on “just-in-time” deliveries. Each component, each consignment is to arrive exactly when it is needed. This eliminates the need for warehousing and reduces costs, provided nothing disrupts the supply chain. The COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have shown that this can happen when you least expect it and on a scale that nobody could have predicted. Therefore, it is worth considering how you can organise and manage warehousing in order to ensure maximum benefits for the company while keeping costs at a reasonable level.
Tailored to your needs
The ideal warehouse should be just what we need. On the face of it, this is a trivial statement. Your own warehouse will probably never meet this requirement perfectly. If it is built according to this year’s needs, it will probably be too small in two years’ time. If a company invests in warehouse space for stock, some of the space will remain unused for several years, generating construction and operating costs. And then… then you will experience lack of space again. Therefore, in many cases, the optimal solution is to rent warehouse space from a logistics company which specializes in such services and has modern facilities at its disposal.
Warehouse security has many aspects. It includes protection against burglary, fire, vandalism and weather conditions. The safety of employees and stored goods during loading and unloading is also important. In the case of some goods, safety also means a guarantee of maintaining the required environmental parameters, such as temperature and air humidity.
When evaluating the offers of logistics companies, you need to pay attention to certificates and attestations and check which of the companies have non-standard solutions related to improving safety and insurance conditions. Not only the amount of the insurance is important, but also the conditions and terms of compensation, exclusions, etc.
A warehouse should be available when you need it. If it is on your own premises, the problem of accessibility is practically non-existent. The situation is different when leasing warehouse space from external companies. The rules of availability, including the possibility of emergency access to the warehouse outside normal working hours, should be clearly defined in the contract.
The management of a company is only as precise as the knowledge of its condition. This also applies to the knowledge about current warehouse stock. A good warehouse uses modern technologies to control stored resources and it cooperates with the company’s IT system in real time. Thanks to this, customers placing orders in the online system can have a guarantee that the seller has the goods in their possession, so they are not threatened with delayed delivery.
A modern, very effective technique for automating warehouse control is the RFID system. If the packaging of products stored in the warehouse is specially tagged, the process of registering entries and withdrawals from the warehouse will be very fast and accurate. It is also possible to carry out a rapid stock-taking and localization of wanted items.
Technologies supporting warehouse operations are developing rapidly. More and more robots and advanced IT systems are being used. This affects the scope of the offer and its pricing. If warehousing is a critical process in your company, you should regularly follow the latest developments and take advantage of the opportunities they bring.