Managing a warehouse is about more than just organisation. With the pressure on the supply chain managing a warehouse is about enabling your operation to become efficient, streamline and nowadays, a little bit savvy.
The basic aim is simple, receive goods in, hold them for as long as the sales department needs you to (hopefully not long!) then pack them and send them to the customer. But things are rarely that simple. The process inside the warehouse enables the accurate, efficient, cost effective and fast delivery of goods to the customer and this is where managing the warehouse becomes an essential part of the supply chain. The warehouse process can be broken down into 5 broad sections.
Receiving from suppliers where the product enters the warehouse. Date and time are usually logged as well as supplier details to enable supplier quality referencing. Products are usually quality checked depending on the consistency needed. Pairing up QC and supplier details enables supplier quality audit and checking. Quarantine defective or low quality goods at this point prevents wastage inside the warehouse. Stock checking and stock valuing also often take place.
Product put away
Next, the goods must be stored. This can range literally from piling boxes in the corner of the warehouse to an integrated automation system. However, the basic principle is the same, a location is found for each product. The location is logged. Put away can include priorities for fast moving product and quarantine locations for defective goods.
Managing the stock within the warehouse depends largely on the track and traceability of stock. Traditionally warehouse managers would keep track of stock levels and locations either on paper or on an excel sheet, however with the increase in product number, complexity and efficiency warehouses now need to be able to automatically track and trace goods to enable stock movement and rotation, consignment and efficient locating.
Picking is one of the defining processes of a warehouse, and usually goes a long way towards making the warehouse an effective and efficient operation. At its most basic level a picker looks at an order on a printed sheet, finds the location of the products required, picks them and places them into a box or pallet to go to distribution. Often in many warehouses a picker will waste a lot of time trying to find out where an item is, or walking to a location, picking an item, walking back to the box, then realising the next item was on the next shelf, so s/he walks back to the location. Efficient pick routing offered by warehouse management software enables the pickers to be directed and creates an effective pick operation. Picking can also be performed automatically but this often depends upon the complexity / simplicity of the product.
Basically, the boxed or pallet is taped or strapped up and sent to the customer. This process can include weight checking to check the orders are correct. Automated wrapping and loading. Dispatch sortation to enable vans and lorries to be loaded most efficiently depending on their location. And customer order checking to minimise inaccurate deliveries.
So 5 basic processes, goods in, put away, stock control, picking, and dispatch. To see how K-store gives you the tools to manage your warehouse visit www.k-store.co.uk