| The warehouse tasks may include vehicle unloading, quality assurance, storage, picking, production postponement, added value services, packing, cross docking, sortation and vehicle loading as well as such ancillary activities as accommodating sales offices or providing vehicle wash facilities.|
Most organizations do not keep the exact data required for warehouse design and therefore a wide range of methods normally need to be used to assemble the data. These methods include extracting data from computer records and paper records, sampling or surveying existing operations, projections based on forecasts, interviews with customers, site drawings, information from equipment and information technology suppliers and input from relevant management and staff. Assumptions often have to be made based on informed opinion and experience, and these should be clearly highlighted and agreed with the Steering Group.
The warehouse may be divided by product groups, by temperature regime, by the degree of hazard, by the need for security, by size of items or by Pareto classification. The Pareto classification is named after an Italian economist who lived in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century’s.
The time available for each activity is an important factor in determining how each should be performed. For example, if there is a late-evening cut-off time for orders and the service level is for next-day delivery, then the time window available for order picking may be limited to only a few hours. On the other hand, it may be possible to instruct suppliers to deliver goods to the warehouse earlier, so this activity could be scheduled for the morning in order to balance the workload over the day.
The goods are then transported to the appropriate area where its delivery point. There may be one or more marshalling areas associated with each loading door. Particularly where large items are required for a customer order, the goods may in fact be brought together for a customer order for the first time directly in the marshalling area. The goods are then loaded on to the vehicle and secured by packers. If a customer plans to collect the goods, then the vehicle load will need to be assembled and held in the marshalling area, awaiting collection. Good co-ordination is necessary in such instances to avoid the load taking up valuable marshalling area space for longer than necessary.
After order picking, the goods for a particular order need to be brought together and made ready for dispatch. This may involve added value activities, such as labeling, tagging, assembly, testing, and packing into cartons. Where production postponement is undertaken, these activities may be quite extensive.