Learning the fundamentals of warehousing

Published: Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The global warehousing and storage market was valued at $479.4 billion in 2017 and learning effective warehousing is increasingly becoming more important as it increases efficiency and clientele service by reducing cycle times and lowering overall costs.

Warehousing and inventory control systems help your business monitor and track the amount of raw materials, finished goods and work in progress.

Many businesses rely on the information provided by the inventory control to make sound decisions on productions, purchases, scheduling and fulfill other warehouse needs. Accurate inventory systems help small businesses keep costs low and efficiently meet customers’ demands.

When it comes to warehousing, many businesses already know its importance in managing a supply chain. Though it is mainly seen for storing goods and preparing items for outbound shipping, packing, etc., warehouses are also economically beneficial to both owners and customers.

The global warehousing and storage market was valued at $479.4 billion in 2017 with North America being the largest geographic region accounting for $132.7 billion or 27.7% of the global market.

The US has the largest country share at $101.1 billion or 21.1% of the global warehousing and storage market, according to Warehousing and Storage Market Global Report 2018 from the Business Research Company.
The primary value –adding objective of an effective warehousing is to increase efficiency and clientele service by reducing cycle times and lowering overall costs. Storage offers added value to warehousing.

Warehousing role

Nowadays, warehousing plays a very important role in the supply chain management. It not only provides the function of holding or storing the goods but also improve value-added services to the overall performance of the supply chain.

A variety of devices—including wearables, sensors and radio frequency identification tags— are commonly used to locate products in the warehouse. This reduces the time to deliver the product to the customer and increases accuracy resulting in the rapid growth of warehousing and storage market.

The value-added services may include buffer, consolidation center, cross docking (moving the goods from a manufacturer directly to the customer with low material handling and without storage in warehouse in a long time period), Inventory tracking (helps the company manage the inventory in the warehouse with more efficiency and aims to reduce the cost and time in the warehouse operation process), reverse logistics (helps retailers in process of goods return to the warehouse and increases the satisfaction of retailer and customer), timely delivery (arrange and manage the shipment of goods for different customers) and so on.

In an email interview with Mr. Ghassan N. Nakfoor, Senior Management Consultant and Partner at the Dubai-based Meirc Training & Consulting, Air Cargo Update discussed the importance of taking a warehouse management course and how it effectively helps in managing a warehouse.

Warehouse management course

Warehousing operations are at the heart of the supply chain of any organization. The ability to secure the storage and flow of supplies with an eye on balancing costs with desired service levels provides a formidable challenge to warehouse professionals.

Taking the warehouse management course will help the candidate understand the strategic role of warehousing in the broader context of supply chain management and logistics.

The course also details the different warehousing activities and focuses on the ones which warehousing can contribute to, in the organization apart from examining the operational & financial performance aspect of warehousing, with an eye on sustainability.

“Inventories can reach millions and millions of dollars. You need a good warehouse to store, keep and protect all those millions of dollars. In this course, we will discuss the best and the latest methods to store and protect high value inventories,” says Nakfoor.

“We will also discuss the best characteristics of a modern warehouse. Knowing what you have and how much you have are the keys to proper warehousing management. Furthermore, we will explore the various methods to achieve record accuracy and successful cycle counting. Finally, a scientific method of auditing the warehouse will be applied,” he added.

The course is ideal for those candidates seeking to complement their warehousing experience with the latest theoretical knowledge in preparation for assuming higher positions in their respective organizations, in particular, those at operational, supervisory and management level.

Oldest commercial activity

Humans first learned the importance of warehousing in keeping animals as food. As civilization progressed, local warehouses were introduced. Normally merchandise is stored in connection with shipping, trading, and manufacturing activities.

During the Middle Ages, improvement in human knowledge gave rise to warehousing to handle the storage of shipped items. The first known major commercial warehouse was built in Venice, a centre of major trade routes.
“Since mankind started to manufacture and produce materials and products, the need for a place to store those end products became a necessity. And so, the warehouse was created. Also, there was a need to store all the raw materials and all the components that make up these end products. On top of that, the capital equipment that were required in the manufacturing process needed a very safe place to be kept in. And so, the warehouse was created.”
No prerequisites

The fundamentals of warehousing as a course are open to anybody with no pre-requisites. This is recommended to individuals involved in warehousing (store) activities, both at the operational and supervisory levels.
The course is also appropriate for anyone interested to know more about the interaction between warehousing and other materials management functions such as: Purchasing, Inventory Control and Distribution, according to Nakfoor.

Major concepts to be encountered during the course include: Warehouse operations; Customer service; Record accuracy; Staff relations; Safety management, and Warehouse operations auditing.

Other interactive tools used during the course are a mixture of interactive learning tools such as: videos, questionnaires, case studies, team exercises, individual exercises and group discussions.

Nakfoor shares some pointers on how a warehouse should be properly managed. These include: Having the right and relevant operational policies and procedures; using good warehouse software; having a state-of-the-art technology; having appropriate leadership and management skills of senior staff; having skilled staff along with continuous on-the-job and external training, accountable staff, and continuous auditing.

“The UAE is becoming a major industrial country in the region. More and more industrial cities such as Jebel Ali will be created in the UAE. The warehouse is a major and main pillar of any industrial city. Therefore, it is very important to study ‘Warehouse Operations and Management’ in the UAE,” Nakfoor summed up the importance of the course.