Warehousing and distribution is more than just storage and shipping. Your business has its own characteristics, its own special logistics needs. A good warehousing and distribution provider will identify those logistics needs and be flexible enough to craft a solution which minimizes capital investment and operational costs. Changing market conditions, including seasonal trends, and custom product orders, must be factored in when creating an optimal logistics solution.
Shipping In and Out
The warehousing management system must integrate seamlessly with your ordering processes. A real-time inventory control system is essential to keep track of what has been ordered and needs to be shipped, and to replenish stock levels. Items arriving at the warehouse should be inspected and any transit damage reported direct to you.
The number of freight runs to the warehouse must be minimized or it could end up costing you millions. A good warehousing management system will optimize receiving operations, generating real-time reports of costs and stock valuation. Aside from inventory, labor costs are your biggest overhead arising from warehousing and distribution. Cloud computing applications can mitigate these costs by maximizing high-volume workflow efficiency in a secure environment.
Similarly shipping your orders out should be as fast and efficient as possible, delivering a transit solution that may occur by sea, air or over land by road or rail; perhaps combining two or three of these transit modes. This requires your 3PL to have good distribution logistics management and access to an extensive network of carriers. Cross-border shipments and hassle free customs clearances will require the correct documentation and trade compliances.
Is It The Right Warehouse For You?
For many, excellent logistics all starts with a good warehouse, which should be large enough and located close to your manufacturing facility. It should be clean, dry, fitted with suitable racking, shelving and pallet storage facilities, and be able to offer cross docking and trans loading for intermodal operations. For peace of mind, it should also have suitable security and fire control systems in place.
Value Added Services
The best warehousing and distribution services offer value-add services, which can include repackaging, labelling, and kitting.
Repackaging might be required to improve the visual appeal of a product or to ease overall handling; redesigns might be structural and/or visually based.
Effective labelling employs barcodes for pricing and product description, and aids tracking and tracing throughout the supply chain.
Kitting is the bundling of component parts of a product, together with tools and other supplies, so that it can be assembled at a more cost-effective time and location. Kitting is designed to lower inventory costs by reducing stock levels.