Warehousing in supply chain management

supply management

Warehousing in Supply Chain Management plays a vital role in logistics. Warehouses are facilities that provide storage spaces for the storage of raw materials or products. Proper warehouse management is one of the components of supply logistics that a business needs to get right if they are to realize their goals.

But a shortage of warehouses has continued to get worse every other year, forcing businesses to look at other storage options. The result has been the rising popularity of storage trailers.

Storage trailers

Demand for storage trailers has in recent times been massive due to the exponential growth being witnessed in the e-commerce industry. As companies look to optimize storage and warehousing, one option that has escaped inroads is the use of containers and trailers for “storage on wheels” warehouse operations.

Of course, storage trailers and warehouses have their pros and cons, but one common feature is that companies will use either to store goods that can then be shipped to consumers.

warehouse storage forklift

Why is warehousing in supply chain management needed?

warehouse boxes

Automation and mobile storage have been game-changers in the storage industry. Apart from how fast goods are shipped to end-users, these components have dramatically cut costs in the supply chain cycle and added greater efficiency to operations.

Warehouses exist for the main purpose of the secure storage of goods. Often erected in large industrial parks, warehouses also serve other purposes, including inventory management and distribution.

Why else is warehousing important?

questionsApart from secure storage of goods, warehouses allow companies and businesses to organize for timely deliveries to consumers. They also provide for automation of various activities optimizing distribution, limiting errors or damages during order fulfillment. But that’s not all.

When demand is low, companies need warehouses to store their excess goods. It is this time utility that allows businesses to continue with production year-round and to be able to provide products to consumers whenever there’s demand.

In peak season, warehouses will be used to store all the goods manufactured to meet a certain demand. Therefore, even as storage develops, warehousing remains essential in large-scale production and distribution logistics.

Value-added activity is another reason warehousing in supply chain management remains relevant in modern trade and manufacturing. Warehouses can support outbound logistics services like packing and shipment and offer the capacity to optimize space by integrating various operations.

What are the 3 types of warehousing in supply chain management?

Warehouses have advanced in usage, with much greater automation moving us beyond the traditional warehouse. Now you can talk of specific warehousing facilities such as storage warehouses, distribution centers, cool warehouses, and flex spaces.

Warehouses fall into three major types: private warehouses, public warehouses, and bonded warehouses.

  • Private warehouses

Private warehouses are those big installations and facilities run by major manufacturers, including e-commerce giants. Some multinationals have constructed private warehouses across the globe and in major cities in the country.

  • Public warehouses

Public warehouses are specialized storage facilities that the public can pay to access.

moving warehouse productsThese storage facilities are licensed by the government and are either operated by individual providers or constructed by cooperative societies.

Public warehouses are essential for small companies and businesses that cannot afford to put up and maintain private warehouses. Public warehouses offer low-cost facilities, which are vital to the supply logistics of these small businesses.

  • Bonded warehouses

Bonded warehouses are storage facilities used by businesses to store imports as they process custom duty. Bonded warehouses are government-licensed and run facilities you will find near ports.

They operate with a ‘Bond,’ an undertaking that guarantees goods will continue to be held until released by customs authorities upon payment of duty.

What is a traditional warehouse?

traditional warehouse

A traditional warehouse is a standard type building/facility whose primary function is manual storage of goods or raw materials. Because it’s non-automated, a traditional warehouse will often have workers who handle all the operations. That includes unloading and moving goods, in-house packing and loading for shipping.

It is common now to find equipment within the traditional warehouses that add to the automation of operations. Some of the equipment includes forklifts, conveyors and pallet trucks, as well as warehouse management software.

What is warehouse storage?

Warehouse storage involves the use of specialized systems to organize and optimize space utilization for storage. Companies have often worked on customizing their warehouse storage systems to meet their specific storage needs, including more efficiency and a highly functional and operational warehouse. Businesses also benefit from increased safety as a result of optimized activities within the warehouse.

The components utilized under a warehouse storage system include pallet racking, cantilever racking, shelving, mezzanines, pallet flow, and conveyor systems.

warehouse storage

What type of warehouse is ideal for long term storage?

warehousing in supply chain management storage

Companies use storage warehouses for long-term storage of products and goods. Usually, these are finished products that the company has earmarked for selling at some point to customers. Storage warehouses are thus convenient as they connect the business to its customers and thus contribute to supply chain operations, especially in outbound logistics.

Equipment and parts are some of the things that are stored in storage warehouses. When the need arises, companies can easily access the equipment. Such warehouses would be what construction and maintenance companies utilize. It is easy to see why warehousing in supply chain management is expected to grow the need for an alternative like storage trailers.

Warehouses for short term storage

Find a public warehouse if you have too much stock but no storage space for the extra inventory. You could consider this type of warehousing solution if you only need to store some goods for a short period. Of all the types of warehouses, the best one for short term storage is a public warehouse.

stacked warehousing in supply chain managementAlthough public warehouses provide for both short and long-term storage, most companies use them to cater to temporary storage needs. These facilities offer storage for a fee, usually on a month-to-month basis. Charges at a public warehouse can be per pallet or volume (per square foot).

The advantage of using a public warehouse for short term storage is that a business does not have to engage its staff. The warehouse operator will also be responsible for all the equipment and inventory management software used. What the business needs is to agree on a fee and if the rates are convenient, use the given storage as agreed.

How do storage trailers benefit businesses?

storage trailers yard

Effective warehouse space management remains one of those challenges that businesses continue to grapple with every other day. It is a supply chain managers’ biggest headache and for that matter. But advancements in warehouse management systems and the growth of storage trailers have brought much-needed help.

Now companies can optimize storage through use of low-cost trailers that businesses can rent or lease for short-term use. Storage trailers are offering solutions to faster delivery timeframes, with all manner of inventory primarily available whenever or wherever required due to the flexibility. Businesses can scale their storage needs and respond to customer needs in whatever location.

Reverse logistics is another area storage trailers are benefiting businesses. Companies can easily store and move returned goods, aiding in quick turnaround times in operations like recycling or reassembling.

Why use a storage trailer for storage instead of a warehouse?

The above benefits are some of the reasons businesses choose storage trailers instead of warehouses. Being storage on wheels makes transporting goods easier. This is an obvious reason for storage trailers becoming so popular.

If you use a warehouse to store your inventory, moving it means you need to load the goods onto trucks. Apart from extra costs on loaders, you also need to pay for any equipment used. Trailers have no such financial implications and thus can potentially save the business lots of money.

Storage trailer rentals are also much cheaper than warehouse rates. You also don’t need to take care of maintenance and other things.

storage trailer transport

How far away are driverless trucks?

truck drivers needed

According to market observers, driverless trucks are not a pipe dream and could hit the roads sooner than cars. Such trucks could fall under level 5 AVs (or fully autonomous trucks) as classified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and would need no drivers.

How long before trucks are truly autonomous is much down to the pace of technological development as it is to regulation. Regulation is one of the biggest challenges and as such, driverless trucks might not be ready for mass production until late 2020s. However, with activities in the autonomous vehicles industry a notch higher, a driverless car might be a common sight on a highway near you latest by mid 2030s.

Companies like Embark have created self-driving trucks that could easily be scaled to market production. Others like TuSimple, Uber, Tesla and Google are also working on accelerating their projects, as are many other startups in China and the U.S.

How do autonomous trucks work?

autonomous trucksAutonomous trucks feature major technological advancements that eliminate the need for a driver when in operation.

These types of trucks are equipped with high-tech sensors and utilize complicated navigation algorithms, including Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). The truck’s systems also connect to powerful processors that use high-precision GPS for location and speed.

As they move, autonomous trucks will use radar, lidar, and cameras to navigate and create maps of their environs. Radar sensors mounted on the trucks help monitor other vehicles on the roads, while lidar uses light pulses to calculate distances from other vehicles. The sensors also help to keep the truck in a given lane.

Video cameras on the truck are used to sense traffic lights, watch out for pedestrians, objects and other obstacles. The algorithms also help the truck recognize road signs.

Sensors installed in the truck’s wheels help with safe parking, while actuators control speed, brakes, and steering. The automation works with sophisticated computer software to ensure the truck codes and responds to all input, including avoiding traffic jams.