Warehousing and Distribution are Critical to a Supply Network

       By: abharim nel
Posted: 2012-05-17 02:20:53
It is said that warehouses and distribution firms are one of the most integral parts of a supply network. Warehousing and distribution involves the process of storing products on behalf of the original manufacturer and distributing them directly to the consumers. Since huge volumes of products can be stored at warehouse, it is easier to dispatch them from a single point as and when the need arises. Considering the fact that several tons of products are stored in these places, it is a rather herculean task to manage the running and operations of a warehouse. However, with the integration of several advanced software and inventory management systems, this process has been able to keep up with the growing volume of goods.

This process is also sometimes referred to as contract warehousing wherein a manufacturer leases space in a large warehouse to store different products. A contract warehouse can be defined as a firm that handles processes such as storing, inventory management as well as shipping for their clients who do not have these facilities. Typically, the manufacturer or supplier would send tons of products to the warehouse and they are stored there until they are needed by the retailers. These services are especially useful for retailers that do not already have their own distribution networks.

All these factors have also led to a growing demand for 3PL logistics. These firms are increasingly popular in ensuring that from the time products are delivered to warehouses to the time they are shipped to their destination, they are in perfect condition. The security of the stored products is critical too; hence constant monitoring of the premises needs to be carried out. Similarly, maintaining hygiene and favorable temperatures at the facility is of the essence. A number of warehouses go a step ahead to build premises that are buildings and racking systems that are not vulnerable to earthquakes. Besides, there could be moisture proof chambers for products that cannot be exposed to humidity or moisture.Typically, a warehousing and distribution firm would provide services including but not limited to picking and packing, storage, dangerous and fragile goods handling, courier dispatch, among many others. In countries such as New Zealand where there is a growing volume of trade, these services are especially handy.

There are contract warehousing firms here that go out of their way to ensure a clean and safe facility. For instance, many of them use electronic hoists to reduce dust and they carry out monthly chemical cleaning of their facility. Besides, there are leading 3PL logistics firms that also boast of custom made online portals to monitor order flow.Since warehousing and distribution are an integral part of any shipping process, as a manufacturer you must choose only the most trusted names in the industry. Finally, the costs play an important role too, hence it is vital to choose a firm that can give you value for money.
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