What is the importance of warehouses in logistics? Warehouses are important to businesses everywhere as they are the place of inventory for products that are being shipped out to customers. The process of packing and shipping affects the company’s profit as well as overall customer satisfaction. Poorly run warehouses lead to losses in profit and dissatisfied customers, as well as dissatisfied warehouse workers. Today we’re going over some of the operational basics of a warehouse through the lens of a product arriving and then leaving a fulfillment center, or warehouse—read on to learn more!
Inventory is Stored
Imagine you’re a toothbrush. After being manufactured, you are shipped to a warehouse that has been chosen as a good place for you to temporarily stay until you’re shipped to a customer. A warehouse worker takes you, still in your packaging, to a specific area of the warehouse to stay with the other toothbrushes based on your SKU, or stock keeping unit. This is the first step in your journey through the warehouse.
An Order Comes In
You’re being summoned! Someone has visited your company’s website and ordered the very type of toothbrush you are. The order goes from the company’s website to the WMS, or warehouse management system used by the warehouse workers. A warehouse worker is assigned to find you and take you to the area where you will be packed up to be shipped. If the WMS system the worker is using is any good, they will receive step by step instructions to find where you’re located in the warehouse. And they do find you! You’re then taken by the worker to the packing station to be prepared for shipping.
The Order is Packed and Leaves the Warehouse
After being picked (the previous process), you are packed in a box along with a receipt and any custom materials your company has requested to be included in the package. A label is printed through a TMS, or transportation management software, and then attached to the box you are in, after which you are handed off to a carrier to be shipped to the customer who ordered you. You’ve made it through the warehouse!
What Can Go Wrong
As you imagined the journey of a toothbrush (or any product, really), you may have noticed that there are lots of ways that things could go wrong. What if the product is damaged when it arrives at the warehouse? What if the product is misplaced or damaged while being handled in the warehouse? There are plenty of what-ifs and the journey through the warehouse is complex. Regardless, efficient warehouse operations can boost profit margins.
How to Proceed
One of the greatest keys to achieving optimal efficiency is choice of software—bad choice of WMS or TMS can seriously slow down warehouse operations. It is important to take the time to investigate your options and choose the software that will serve your business best. ShipCaddie TWMS removes the need for costly and time-intensive integrations being created between WMS and TMS software, allowing warehouse workers to focus on their job and avoid wasting time. Reach out if you have questions on how to optimize your warehouse operations, and thanks for reading!