A bad warehousing process may be the ruin of your entire supply chain, and this means not only economic losses. In this post, I will talk about the basic concepts of warehousing, as well as some useful tips that you can implement to improve the performance of your supply chain.
The central warehouse is the main collection center for finished products in the supply chain. These products, which come from different industrial processes, reach this point and are distributed from here. The difference between a central warehouse and any other is that this is the main destination of the products instead of other local warehouses, which are then in charge of making the final distribution to the consumer. One of the first premises on which you should start is that the central warehouse is one of the key parts of the whole distribution network as this is the main source of supply for the rest of the warehouses and distribution points.
Knowing how to choose the location of the central warehouse is no less important. Because this is the main source of supply and the main receiving center for manufactured goods, the location of this warehouse should be made after strategical planning. The main points to be considered here are, on the one hand, the location of the sources of supply, and, on the other hand, the position of the distribution warehouses to which the stored products are destined.
When it comes to the first point, do not forget that just as there may be a single source of supplies, there may be several. In the first case, the store should be as close as possible to the distribution source. In the second case, it is better to locate the central warehouse at an intermediate point, easily accessible from all sources.
When it comes to the position of the distribution warehouses to which the goods are destined, it is relevant to say that the influence of this position is considerably lesser than that of the sources of supply, and, therefore, it is not a higher priority. Generally, one of the functions of a central warehouse is to condition the products for the next stage of the supply chain. For this reason, the transit from the central warehouse to one of the distribution points is always less traumatic for the delivered products.
The only aspect that you should take care of at all costs is, above all, the one of choosing a point with good communication with the rest of the distribution points, and that it is accessible for the means of transportation that you use to distribute the products you sell.
Now, an efficiently designed central warehouse should be able to fulfill at least six functions. The first one is to be able to receive all the products of all the industrial activities of your organization. The second one is that an immediate quality control must be executed there. The third one is safe and organized storage of goods. The fourth is a quick expedition of the orders, and finally, to be able to carry out an inventory of the stored products as precise and fast as possible.
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Regarding the latter, the control and inventory of the products should be done immediately after performing a quality control. You should record all of the data resulting from this process (it may be through Big Data technology.) Most important, in addition to logging any warehouse moves, you should facilitate the placement of each product, according to the storage program you have established beforehand.
A good central warehouse must have the sufficient and necessary mechanical means to make a correct storage of the goods. If you receive them on pallets, you should count on sophisticated maintenance items, such as retractable mast trucks. If you receive your merchandise in bulk, it may be better to have the resources to pack it properly.
One of the missions of a central warehouse is being a reserve for local warehouses, and for this reason, one of the main functions is to prepare the orders periodically, depending on the order volume or the nature of the products. This periodicity may be daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, or even annual.
Very well, once you have determined the exact needs that require the location, the volume to be stored and the mechanical means that you are going to use, what follows is an adequate management of the spaces, and, therefore, the design of the warehouse itself. As for the design of a warehouse, the most important thing to keep in mind is that there should be a reception, a quality control area, a place of adaptation of loading units, an order preparation system, and, of course, a storage area. Similarly, you should include a shipping area, which should be the order preparation department.
I hope this information has been helpful to you. Remember to share it with your contacts! See you next time.
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* Featured Image courtesy of Seika at Flickr.com