There has been a general increasing trend with regards to warehouse needs in world over. Currently warehouse and storage buildings take about 15% of all the commercial buildings and this makes them two come second building type behind office buildings. The increase in demand for warehouses reflected in the increasing number of the building dedicated to warehousing and not in the increased inventory level. In the US the number of warehouses have increased by a third between the years 2003 and 2012 higher than the increase in the general commercial building of 14.27%(EIA 2015b). In Australia it is approximated that the annual consumption of 16,2Pj in electricity and 4.2Pj in terms of natural gas.
The first operation in warehousing in receiving. The process commences by notification upon arrival of the goods. After notification follows the goods being unloaded, counted, identified, quality control certification and then the goods being accepted. The goods will finally be accepted where it will be marked by bar codes and the information put into the information system of the warehouse and staged for output. The entire process of receiving of wares into the warehouse takes about 10% of the total operating costs (Roodbergen K. J. ,2001)
Storing is a warehousing process which involves the goods being distributed to the storage areas, the goods being assigned to the storage bin and then put away. This involves determination of storage bin with regards to the physical dimensions and storage monitoring which is incorporated in the information systems to ensure that the goods available can easily be ascertained. The storage process covers takes 15% of the entire operating process as there is considerably high transfers that are covered from the gate to the storage area.
Put-away is a process which requires a strictly determined storage location. This is very important, because the information system has to know all the time what storage locations are available, what is the location of a specific type of goods and where each particular pallet is stored. This information is also used for an efficient design of a pick-list. This process requires about 15% (Bartholdi J. J. and Hackman, S. T. ;2011) of operating costs, because this covers a lot of transfers from the gate to the storage place.
The picking is another important process in warehousing that involves plenty of issues. This process takes between 50% to 70% of the operating cost (Koster,R. D et al.,2007). The things that are involved are travelling, searching, extracting and paper working with the cost associated being 55%, 15%, 10% and 20% respectively. The process of picking can be categorized as either heterogeneous or homogeneous. In homogeneous the process is simplified with the picker operating with the entire pallet. For the case of heterogeneous type, the piker has instruction on what is to be picked and where it is to be picked, the quantity and the units of the same.
Other important processes in warehousing are checking and picking. Checking involves the order being checked to ascertain the order is complete and accurate. Packing on the other hand will make sure that the goods that have been picked and have undergone consolidation will be checked foe completeness of the order; they are then packed so as they are ready for transportation and then send to the shipping department (Heragu, 2008).
Good parking may is very important and in some warehouse there is autonomous department dedicated to packing and usually consolidation and checking will be part of this department. The process that comes after parking is shipping. This process ensures that the packed goods are assigned to the correct destination and also assigned to a truck with optimal loading.
Roodbergen K. J. .(2001) “Routing methods for warehouses with multiple cross aisles,” International Journal of Production Research, vol. 39, no. 9, pp. 1865–1883, 2001.
Bartholdi J. J. and Hackman, S. T. (2011). Warehouse & Distribution Science. Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Industrial and Systems Engineering, The Supply Chain and Logistics Institute.
EIA. 2015b. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS).
Koster,R. D et al.(2007). “Design and control of warehouse order picking: A literature review,” European Journal of Operational Research, vol. 182, no. 2, pp. 481–501
Heragu, S. S.(2008). Facilities Design, 3rd ed. CRC Press, ,iSBN-13: 978-1420066265.