Inventory and Warehousing Management is part of the operations intensive function and is one of the key building blocks in the entire chain. Most of the inventory is stored in warehouses as opposed to pipelines, and the efficiency of warehouse operations will determine further supply chain efficiency.
While it is now normal industry practice to outsource warehousing operations to Logistics service providers, warehouse management system managers who are decision makers and network owners need to know the intricacies of warehouse operations and be actively involved in selecting the right partners and the right facilities.
The distribution center or warehouse is the key to the whole model as it keeps the inventory and also manages other operations like bundling, packing, labeling, co-packing, kitting, etc according to the buyer’s requirements. Most of the marketing and buyer requirements are met from the warehouse.
Many factors and elements contribute to the successful operation of a distribution center. The time required to detail the project and build a model taking all considerations into account will go a long way in ensuring supply chain operational efficiency.
The building blocks or operational criteria of an ideal Warehouse Management System include location, structure, roof and floor height, external design and layout, on-site utilities and facilities, internal layout design, storage infrastructure, material handling equipment, lighting and safety equipment, and mechanisms, office infrastructure, IT and communication infrastructure, electricity and backup services, and finally site accessibility and workforce availability. This list can be very exhaustive and depends on the specific business needs of each buyer.
The efficiency of warehousing operations is highly dependent not only on the physical infrastructure but the systems and intelligence that control, direct and manage physical transactions. A strong Warehouse Management System capable of managing inventory and supporting locations will be the backbone of a good efficient warehouse.