With the increase in trade, logistics has become a factor in competitiveness, both in terms of order processing speed and cost reduction. In this ultra-competitive context, what are the challenges related to commercial storage solutions?
Having a Properly Sized Storage Site
In order to be able to size up its logistical activity, and especially its storage needs, a company must determine:
- The number of orders to be processed, especially during order peaks
- The number and volume of items to be stored
- The stock rotation speed
In light of these elements, it will be able to select sites that are:
- large enough to store the necessary volume of goods and to carry out the manipulations related to receiving and shipping the merchandise
- properly sized, in order to pay only for the area that’s actually used
Selecting a Practical Storage Site
The location of the storage site is also a crucial element of logistics. While renting or buying a site near major highways and airports is more expensive than outlying warehouses, this proximity lets you reduce transportation costs and time: stock rotation is faster, and needs in terms of storage area are reduced as much as possible.
The warehouse must also be arranged so as to reduce the number and duration of the merchandise manipulations. For example, warehouses with loading bays help reduce loading/unloading time:
- The merchandise to be loaded can be prepared in advance in an area in alignment with the bay.
- An electric forklift can be used to take 2 pallets at once, which considerably reduces loading time.
By comparison, well-equipped warehouses let you load up to two trucks per hour, as opposed to one per day for poorly arranged storage sites.
Storing and Handling the Merchandise in the Right Conditions
To prevent the goods from being damaged (due to moisture, for example), the storage site must be arranged in such a way as to have several air vents and a ventilation system that allows for sufficient air circulation. The electrical and climate systems must be up to standard and in perfect working order.
The ergonomics of the warehouse is also an essential aspect:
- The storage elements, such as the cabinets, racks, and shelves, must be available in sufficient number and installed in a safe and practical way.
- The traffic routes must be clear to allow for the free flow of pedestrians, forklifts, and self-propelled trucks.
Optimizing the Processes
Workstation design is strategic in distribution logistics. When the actions are logical and reduced to the bare minimum, the employee is physically relieved, makes fewer mistakes, and works faster. Performance increases and costs decrease.
Storage is a key activity in the logistics process. And when you know that the average logistics cost, including transportation, represents more than 10% of a company’s net revenue, you can easily understand how necessary it is to optimize storage. Each one-point gain in the cost items equals one quarter or even one-third additional margin for the company.