Warehousing

What is Warehousing? 

The term warehousing is used to describe the storage of goods such as raw materials, parts or finished products that will be sold or distributed through an organisation.

The terms, warehouse, distribution centre and fulfilment centre are often used interchangeably and indeed the terms and the operations do have a lot in common. However, the distinctions can be seen as:

A warehouse provides only storage and stores management, often for an associated factory.

A distribution centre provides storage but also offers value-added services such as completing customer orders and more comprehensive transport and distribution facilities. The orders tend to be business to business orders (B2B) often for retail outlets. Distribution centres can be seen as holding centres between the manufacturer and the retailer.

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A fulfilment centre is similar to a distribution centre but has developed much more recently from the growth in the online, e-commerce market. It is specifically geared to short term storage from which to satisfy mainly business to consumer orders (B2C). It requires a very quick turnaround and to operate at this level of expertise, is often outsourced to a third party.

Define the Process

Many warehouses will have a strong computerised warehouse management system (WMS) are generally designed to merge computer hardware, software, and peripheral equipment, with improved operating practices for managing inventory, space, labour and capital equipment in warehouses and distribution centres. The sophistication of these systems can vary from simple stock location control to systems that can add value by maximising customer satisfaction, minimising mistakes, identifying and coordinating work, and reporting past, present and future work status(Ayub, 2007; Singer, 2010).

 

A warehouse is a large storage centre or industrial space designed to house inventory in bulk. It can be used to store pretty much anything including liquids, electronic piece parts, large items of capital plant, precious metals, gemstones, packaging, raw materials and household items.

A distribution centre is a next stage development from straightforward warehouse storage. It incorporates the need for some value-added activity, such as unpacking and re-packaging to meet a customer’s specific requirement.

If the objective of a Warehouse is to store products and the objective of a distribution centre is to hold and then expertly transport products to retailers, then the objective of a fulfilment centre is to expertly meet consumer’s expectations driven by the boom in e-commerce. They require a high degree of operational speed and expertise and are often run by third party outsourced logistics companies.

If the objective of a Warehouse is to store products and the objective of a distribution centre is to hold and then expertly transport products to retailers, then the objective of a fulfilment centre is to expertly meet consumer’s expectations driven by the boom in e-commerce. They require a high degree of operational speed and expertise and are often run by the third party outsourced logistics companies.

What are the advantages of warehousing

Enhancing productivity and lowering costs and objectives for many businesses and organisations. A strong warehousing operation can support and fulfil these objectives by offering these benefits.

  • Production support for storage of goods and raw materials
  • Opportunity to expand through the storage of goods and raw materials
  • Inclusion of picking, packing and shipping services
  • Price stabilisation to meet supply and demand
  • Enable ‘spot stacking’ of products for seasonal purchases
  • Minimise business risk through the safe storage of products

The future of warehousing

The new decade will see a move within warehouse operations towards the increased adoption of collaborative robots (cobots) to work alongside employees and assist with heavy lifting and many repetitive tasks. Cobot tasks can include unloading pallets and putting items to stock and quality inspection tasks that require the visual processing technology with which many cobots are equipped.

 

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Warehousing

 

For addition reading on this topic visit Operations Management

 

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