The Role of Warehousing in Today’s Connected World

The Role of Warehousing in Today’s Connected World

May 17, 2022
Empower Frontline Workers

Do you know what warehousing is? It is the way of storing and distributing goods. But it is also one of the hottest topics right now because warehousing is crucial to businesses in a connected world.

Typical warehouses were sprawling buildings with nearly endless space. While warehousemen used to wander the aisles, most warehouses today are geared toward e-commerce. That means they are equipped with extensive technology, allowing real-time data management while supporting an optimized supply chain. This, of course, raises many questions: What are warehousing best practices? What services are available? And last, but not least – how do you find the model that fits your business?

A definition: What is warehousing?

There are different forms of warehousing. However, they all have one thing in common: It is always about the process of storing, finding and distributing physical goods. Even the so-called mini-warehousing is about storing products in such a way that you can easily find them again later. Ideally, you not only know where goods are located: You can also track their path through the warehouse and know how long they take to go through the entire process.

What makes e-commerce so special is the fact that the products initially remain where they are. Only when a customer places an order online do they leave the warehouse. In this context, smart warehousing is particularly important. It corresponds to a fulfilment centre based on automation of supply chain technology. The integrated warehousing management system always pursues the goal of making logistics processes simpler, faster and better.

warehousing-illustration

See how AR in warehouses works

Connect with our experts and find out how augmented reality can transform your warehouse processes.

Warehousing vs. storage

Warehousing and logistics are playing an increasingly central role in modern competition. Digitalization has made it possible to meet the demand for on-demand logistics. That’s why many companies are today moving away from the classic storage system. Because with this approach, you create a much more resilient supply chain for your business. This is not least because warehousing, contrary to the storage principle, improves speed, accuracy, and transparency.

Efficient warehouse structures for supply chain optimization

The smart warehouse is an important step towards the future for many companies. The fact that this innovation improves logistics processes is proven anew every day, and not just by online retailers: DHL’s Success Story proves that this approach works perfectly even in large infrastructures.

The Coca-Cola HBC success story also shows that warehousing and distribution benefit from the new technology and enables one of the largest bottlers for The Coca-Cola Company to make its processes significantly more efficient.

It doesn’t always have to be large corporations. Even with a small online company, you can benefit from mini-warehousing and a warehousing management system. The combination of transparency and control enables you to build agile supply chains and make smarter decisions.

The key components of warehousing logistics

Warehousing and logistics are at the core of your business if you sell physical products. Warehousing management becomes a central component of this. What you had to do manually a few years ago is much simpler today. The following components are the central aspects:

1. Warehouse management

Although you may not need a warehouse management system as extensive as the one described in the Coca-Cola HBC success story, it is the foundation for your strategic daily operations. It allows you to drive operational excellence and continuously improve your processes. It is not only about managing your warehouse, but also about monitoring and training your staff and documenting your inventory.

2. Warehouse operations

All processes that take place in your warehouse are part of its operations. This point also deals with inventory tracking: You will find all the functions related to receiving inventory, placing your goods and shipping products. The more efficient the warehousing and distribution processes are, the lower your costs and the more timely your shipments. The result: satisfied customers who will be happy to order from you again.

3. Warehouse management systems

Software that helps you manage your warehouse supports you in many ways. The classic warehouse management systems help you, for example, to manage your warehouse operations and inventory movements. This saves you time, as many manual processes are eliminated. However, you can take these systems to the next level: An AR Warehouse with the right tools and smart glasses software provides hands-free guidance to workers directly in their field of view and streamlines daily operations significantly.  To make this work, solutions like TeamViewer Frontline xPick are essential.

See how AR in warehouses works

Connect with our experts and find out how augmented reality can transform your warehouse processes.

Warehousing in the age of online retail

Connectivity is an indispensable approach for warehousing. That’s because connectivity allows you to use modern technologies in many ways. The smart warehouse is driving logistics in e-commerce, allowing you to deliver at record speeds and keep your customers happy.

While a pad, pen and various printouts used to be sufficient, other technologies are now part of the daily business. DHL’s Success Story has shown how positive the use of smart glasses software is in everyday business. Combined with TeamViewer Frontline xPick, warehousing and shipping can be noticeably streamlined. The AR Warehouse created in this way not only makes your work easier, but also that of your employees.

  • You can identify the exact location of your inventory.
  • You have an overview of the products that are actually available.
  • Furthermore, you can react immediately to product recalls, damaged stock or expired goods.
  • Thanks to modern approaches, you can dispatch older stock before you send on your new products.

Recommended practices in Warehouse Management

If you want to take advantage of warehousing services, the first question is: What are the best practices? The following basic principles will enable you to manage your warehouse successfully.

  • Don’t rely on manual entries. They are error-prone and significantly more time-consuming than automated approaches.
  • Plan your picking operations to achieve the best possible results.
  • Reduce physical product touchpoints. This will almost always increase efficiency.
  • Popular products should be as accessible as possible in your warehouse. This reduces trips and saves you time.
  • Strive for a dedicated information exchange, ideally between the individual systems.
  • Assign a unique SKU (stock keeping unit) to each product to increase inventory accuracy.
  • Prioritize the security of your warehouse, not only for the technology installed, but for the health and satisfaction of your employees.

How to find the right solution for your business?

To implement lean principles in warehousing, there are many things to consider. The following considerations will help you find the best solution for your business:

  1. What are your warehousing costs and how many items do you have? This will determine how much space you need and how best to allocate storage. Be sure to pay attention to what separate fees are involved.
  2. Does your business depend on the season? Seasonal fluctuations can make warehouse logistics difficult. This is because in this case, renting a space is quite difficult as you need to be more flexible.
  3. Where should the warehouse be located? The optimal location for warehousing your inventory depends on individual aspects. Rural areas, for example, are better suited for storing larger quantities over a longer period of time, as they are less expensive. If, on the other hand, you want to ship as quickly as possible, the warehouse should be located near a transport hub.
  4. How many warehouses do you require? To optimize your supply chain, it may make sense to distribute inventory geographically.
  5. What technology should your supply chain management include? Keep in mind that automated order fulfilment simplifies many processes and speeds up your delivery.

FAQs: Storage and Warehousing

The following questions arise again and again when it comes to warehousing.

What is a flexible lease warehousing?

Flexible lease warehousing is a form of rental: You don’t need your own warehouse, but place it with another company. This usually also takes care of the fulfilment.

What is Grade A warehousing?

Grade A warehousing is best explained by its result: Grade A warehouses result in the lowest total cost of ownership. This is achieved by highly efficient operations along the supply chain.

What is lean warehousing?

Lean warehousing is an approach that deals with optimization in the warehouse. According to the lean principles, the aim is to eliminate all processes and activities that do not add value.

What is Operational Efficiency in Warehousing?

Operational Efficiency aims to define a suitable layout for the work and process flow for production and distribution. Here, too, the focus is on maximum optimization of all conditions.

warehouse-illustration

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