What Is Warehouse Logistics And How To Ensure Its Optimal Performance?
Warehouse logistics are all activities undertaken as part of planning, managing and handling loads – admission to the warehouse, storage and shipment. Its job is to manage and track the movement of products during the warehousing stage and adjust the resources to meet the facility’s current needs.
This article will discuss the main elements of warehouse logistics that affect the smoothness and efficiency of its run.
Objectives Of Warehouse Logistics
The main goal of warehouse logistics is to minimise operating costs while maintaining the optimal services offered. To do so, first and foremost, you must:
- strive to maximise the storage space,
- take care of the effective use of reloading equipment,
- organise the operators’ work in an optimal way,
- ensure easy access to the loads handled at every stage of the storage process,
- take care of high standards of safety of employees and goods.
Warehouse Logistics: The Key To Efficient Warehouse Operation
Warehouse logistics includes the processes of receiving and storing goods, preparing orders and shipping them. Therefore, achieving efficient warehouse operation will only be possible by optimising every aspect of its operation.
1. Logistics Project Of The Warehouse
Already at the stage of designing the warehouse layout, several factors should be considered. That will have a direct impact on how the warehouse logistics will be carried out, for example:
- Estimated quantity and characteristics of stored goods,
- Assumed number of goods receipts and releases and inventory turnover ratio,
- Required storage area,
- Organizational and management model used in the company,
- Whether ERP and/or WMS systems will be used,
- What storage systems and handling equipment will be used in the warehouse.
2. Cargo Handling: Handling Facilities And Storage Systems
Cargo handling is understood as all operations related to the intra-warehouse transport of goods and their storage. Their course depends on the handling equipment used, the storage systems installed in the facility and the methods of handling loads.
There are many types of pallet and shelf racks.
- characteristics of the stored products,
- assumed storage capacity,
- required fluidity of receipts and releases of goods from the warehouse area
- budget available.
- Before buying a specific rack installation, it is worth analyzing the advantages and disadvantages of all storage solutions available on the market. For this, you can use our article, in which we have compiled and compared the features of different storage systems.
The number of devices used and the way they work to have a direct impact on warehouse capacity. In turn, their characteristics shape the layout of the storage area because, depending on the type, they require different widths of working aisles or the height of the rack installation.
Reloading devices can be divided into two groups:
- manual devices controlled by operators: pallet trucks, lift trucks, order pickers, forklifts etc;
- automatic systems: these are autonomous device controlled by computer software closely cooperating with the warehouse management system.
3. Order Picking And Shipping
Order picking is a crucial process that affects the efficiency of the warehouse. It is an extremely complex process, the final performance of which consists of many minor elements, including:
- picking height: from the floor level, from the low, medium, and high level;
- how the product is picked: picking takes place in the “man to goods” system. In which the operator himself goes to the place where the product is stored, or “goods to man”. In which automatic systems deliver the required article to the picking station;
- picking method: discrete (single), group, zone, wave, pick-to-cart, etc.
4. Inventory Management And Identification
Modern technology enables the organisation of warehouse operations and stock management at the optimal level. Thanks to it, complete traceability of the cargo at every stage of the supply chain is possible and the constant provision of an appropriate amount of stored stocks, which is necessary for the effective functioning of the warehouse:
The most popular solutions in this area include:
- data readers: these are radio terminals and systems supporting the picking process, such as pick-by-voice or pick-to-light. These devices transmit data on the current, physical inventory status to the warehouse management system;
- warehouse management system: WMS software, in close cooperation with the ERP system, controls, coordinates and manages the operations and processes taking place in the warehouse.
5. Security In The Warehouse
The specificity of warehouse operations means that both its employees and stored goods are exposed to the risk of accidents. Properly organized warehouse logistics should ensure maximum safety of all its participants through:
- reducing the risk of accidents among employees: the warehouse must be equipped with fire protection systems.
- ensuring the safety of the loads handled: the most common cause of damage to loads is their unskillful operation by the operators. That is why it is worth conducting continuous training among employees, as well as ensuring appropriate and legible marking of communication routes in the warehouse;
- Carrying out the condition of the racks: the inspection of the storage racks is compulsory and should be carried out on a regular basis.
Warehouse Logistics, Which Is A Challenge For Companies
Warehouse logistics is a complex issue, and its proper functioning consists of many elements. Where the expansion of e-commerce and the rapidly changing purchasing preferences of customers pose more and more challenges to companies. Which require efficient adaptation of logistics processes to new conditions.