A major trend that is seen in advanced warehousing technology during 2017 has been the impact of technology. On a closer examination of the trends, we can notice the correlation between the growth in software for supply chain planning and digital warehouse management systems alongside the exponential growth of e-commerce.
The increasing trend in online shopping has significantly impacted the manner in which goods are stored and moved to several hundred or thousands of retailers across the nation or even continents. With warehouses catering directly to thousands of customers, then retailers, warehouse management has become more complex and fragmented leading to technology being the singular option to address all the complex needs.
This is also reflected in the more than the impressive growth of warehouse management software, particularly in the aftermath of the 2009 global financial crisis and in 2011 alone the Warehouse management software notched up a growth of 14% which was twice what the street had estimated. During the same period supply, chain planning software too experienced nearly identical growth, and both the software products are maintaining a positive growth trajectory since then.
Highest levels of efficiency become imperative when it comes to meeting the demands of consumers, particularly individuals, through near-instant dispatch, tracking consignments and ensuring complaint free fulfilment. These demands on efficiency, in turn, drive the demand for warehouse management and supply chain planning software.
Analyzing this trend further, we notice an increasing trend in the use of handheld devices in warehousing and inventory management. In other words, it is portability that is reigning supreme in the area of business and commerce.
To illustrate this further, we can think of a handheld scanner employed to manage inventory, conduct instant audits, real-time updates of stock levels and other data that impact the most effective metrics of warehouse management.
Interestingly, the impact of technology is not even limited to the core function of warehouse management. It extends even to areas that are less obvious like pallet racking systems. Forklift time is reduced when you have an automated pallet raking system when outbound and inbound items need to be dealt with and also handle inventory control simultaneously. With this, we see another interesting instance of technology impacting an area like storage system which was once reckoned as a static system. That also brings into focus the fact that technology today can be beneficially exploited to address every aspect of inventory, logistics, fulfilment and distribution for optimal benefits.
While the availability of technology is one thing, using it appropriately is important. Thus, another trend we are seeing is more and more tech-savvy employees getting increasingly familiar with the use of technology in their everyday routine.
With such new skills added these employees, in turn, are adding value to their employability even as distribution centres keep upgrading their technology and employers somewhat struggle to minimize attrition rate with regard to these skilled employees.
Warehouse management for optimal efficiency
Warehouse racking systems contribute in large measure to optimize the flow in your warehouse. Easier picking and accessibility is ensured when the racks are laid out efficiently. The time saved of your employees and equipment finally translates into money for the business over the longer term. But, the equation has more when the right racks are chosen and the placement determined scientifically. Some of the major warehousing aspects to bear in mind include:-
Planning your warehouse layout ahead of everything else is a huge help when it comes to optimal results. Your material handling company can be of significant help in this direction because they bring loads of diverse experience to the table. Ensure that you have a set of questions as well as ideas to share with them so that they can provide comprehensive suggestions for you. With technology impacting nearly every facet of human life today, it is not surprising that companies such as Colby Storage Solutions have readily embraced and adapted the many of the latent technologies to enhance productivity, performance and return on investment.
Obviously, you need a budget for the racking system, and that should factor in the space, your financial means, and the constraints you face. Remember that the cheapest may not always be your best solution since the best solution may not fit into the particular price. Conversely, if you choose the best solution that could be somewhat expensive upfront, your long-term gains will be significant. More importantly, you should also reckon vertical spaces in the warehouse layout since every inch of space available is money and can be beneficially used.
Choose racks that perfectly answer your needs
By default, standard pallet racking is the choice for most warehouses. The major advantage of this system is the high degree of accessibility to forklifts, and no stock would get buried behind a shelf. But, one constraint is that your aisles should have adequate width for the forklift to move around. Every square foot that you set aside for this purpose also means that you are sacrificing that much of storage space. But, one way you can lessen the impact is by using the vertical space optimally and deploy multi-level racking systems. Although your initial investment may be higher this way, you will potentially save money year after year since what you invest now will not need additions anytime soon.
Balancing accessibility and space
It is important that your warehouse has a perfect balance between accessibility and space. The products you handle in the warehouse now and your plans for the future will need to be factored in. The size of the products and the duration of which they remain on the racks would also need to be reckoned. Shallow racks often answer your needs perfectly when you have a quick turnover of the products handled, and deeper racks work well for items that remain stored for a longer time, and they can also be pushed to the back end of the rack.