If you’re a business looking for a third-party logistics provider to store your merchandise, it only seems fair that you’d want to know the secret to a good warehouse. Your choice could ultimately influence your business in either positive or negative ways, so putting forth the effort in finding the right warehouse for you is extraordinarily important. Warehouse operations differ with each 3PL provider, and each of them will have their own tricks of the trade that make their business successful. Here are some secrets that could make the difference in your decision to choose a warehouse that’s the right fit for you.
With the number of warehouses in the US, freight is still a relatively underutilized means to transport merchandise and products across great distances. The plus side of the railway is that mostly anything can be shipped by rail. While trucks can be a good solution for goods traveling short distances, the farther a product needs to travel, the better a solution railway can become. With railways, there is a potential for limited stops, meaning your products could reach their destination in a much shorter amount of time. This is especially nice for companies that are shipping raw goods or foods that have a small timeframe in which they need to be sold and utilized.
Many companies are still hung up on only transporting goods through the use of trucks, but freight opens up many different doors for transportation. It provides some cost-saving measures through fuel usage and even works to deliver products in a shorter span of time.
2. Warehouse operations.
There are a few things that can make for a great warehouse. The way it’s operated and organized is one of those key factors that can make it efficient. The real estate of a warehouse can use complex organization sheets or it could use a common sense approach such as expected time to pick (ETP). On average, picking is a much more time-consuming activity than put away since it’s where the most labor is utilized. If a warehouse optimizes their slotting to ensure that pallet positions and storage match the flow of goods than overall everything is much more organized and concise. It’s all about keeping like products together, so shipments become easier to fulfill.
Additionally, we all know that having large batches means more of something is being made or produced. In this instance, the batch orders refer to bulk orders. Instead of shipping one item at a time, you can ship things in bulk, which would make your operations much more productive. There would be no need to revisit the same location consistently because all of one shipment would be sent out at the same time.
This type of shipping makes sense for any company that frequently ships large quantities. It could aid in cost saving measures, which would make both the 3PL and the companies they provide services for quite happy.
3. Bright ways to save.
Many warehouses are still utilizing fluorescent lights within their facility. An interesting fact about fluorescent lights is that they have an automatic 15-minute timeout period, which put simply means it takes 15 minutes for the lights to turn off completely. That’s money going out of your pocket simply for lights. LED lights don’t share this same 15-minute turn-off period. Instead, they only use a 30-second timeout period, which maximizes energy savings. Fifteen minutes versus 30 seconds, it’s a no-brainer. When you upgrade your warehouse from fluorescent from LED, you can save approximately 60% in energy costs alone. In addition to cost savings, LED lights are also better for employees. There have been numerous studies between light conditions and the human performance. When we work for long periods in terrible lighting, it can lead to fatigue, which often makes us sluggish and not as efficient. On the flip side, when we work under appropriate lighting we can remain more alert and work much more efficiently.
There are no foolproof methods to create a cohesive warehouse. It’s all about each aspect of the warehouse coming together to create a well-organized machine, and these three details are a step in the right direction.