The system of distributing items to the different warehouse distribution centers is a very complex process. Many logistics are involved in it. Most importantly, you need a truck or other transportation to carry the products from one destination to the other.
Products that enter the distribution center are stored in different containers depending on the size and type of the material. Special equipment is used to take care of the different containers. For example, fork lift truck is used to move stacked pallets.
Here are some of the specialized containers that are used:
Shipping containers: used for carrying goods.
Pallets: used to store goods and move them in a distribution center. Pallets are handled by special devices like pallet jack, pallet inverter or forklift truck. Pallets may be stored in pallet racking.
Gaylords: boxes connected to a pallet.
Cartons and cases: contains many items. Goods are stored in cartons, but shipped in cases. A stored carton is referred to as a case. Totes are another type of container that are reusable.
There are mainly three areas of a distribution center: the receiving dock, storage and the shipping dock. In small companies, the receiving and shipping docks are the same function, but in case of large companies, the functions are separate.
The process of bringing items to the storage facility and then distributing it is a lengthy process and several logistics are involved in it. The different logistics include procurement logistics, distribution logistics, after sales logistics, etc.
A number of supervisors are in charge of these logistics. They are well trained to handle each equipment and run the entire process efficiently. Logistics is an integral part of the warehouse distribution system. Warehouse distribution centers cannot function without them.
Whatever warehouse storage system you choose, it must be able to take heavy load. The storage system must have easy accessibility to the products stored in them. It must be made sure that they don’t take up much of the floor space. Different types of warehouse storage systems exist. These are:
#1 Pallet storage systems
This type of storage makes assembling easy. They can be found in different sizes. You should buy one that best meets the storage requirements. This storage system doesn’t take up much of the floor space and so allows room for you to walk.
#2 Storage cabinets
This type of storage is required for high density equipment. The materials stored here can be easily accessed. Lock and key feature is available for extra protection. These are especially designed for the warehouse purposes itself.
#3 Mezzanine floors
This is a great way to increase the capacity of your floor. Your wasted office space can be turned into two tier or three tier mezzanine floors. This saves you from renting another office or warehouse.
You can have different types of partitions as your storage system. There are fully glazed partitions, powder coated steel partitions, metal and plaster board partition, etc. Doors ranging from single leaf, half leaf or double leaf can be used.
We provide different types of shelving for both commercial and industrial use. From small shelf rack to large storage — we provide everything. There is longspan shelving, metal adjustable shelving, two tier shelving, archive shelving, etc. These shelvings offer different types of storage space.
Warehouse storage systems are designed according to the needs of the customers. A warehouse system can stock goods and move from one place to another. You should choose the warehouse storage system depending on your material and storage space.
Order picking is the process by which some goods are taken out from a warehouse and given to independent customers. It is a very important part of supply chain process now. It is labor intensive and costly. The cost of order picking is about 55% of the total operating cost of the warehouse. Effort has been made to improve the process of order picking. Order picking system can be of four types: picker to Part, Part to Picker, Sorting System and Pick to Box.
Picker To Part
This comprises of a storage area, picking area and system for handling material. The handling system is used to reload the picking locations. The storage area contains everything required to meet customer orders.
Part to Picker
It also consists of picking area, storage area and material handling system. The material handling system moves items from the storage to the picking area. The picking area comprises of several picking bays. Items move from the storage to the picking bay. Picking operator then collects the order from the picking bay.
This system consists of automatic material handling system. A number of conveyors and sorting devices are also included. First, the items are placed on the conveyor belt and are sorted in each order. The picking operator collects sorted data from the picking area and fulfills the order of the customers.
Pick to Box
The conveyor system has several picking zones. The box is filled up by the picking operator and it moves to picking zones till the customer order is fulfilled.
The type of picking order method you choose depends on a number of factors including number of orders, size and number of items, complexities in fulfilling orders, etc. Different companies use different types of method for order picking.
Here’s a really cool infographic showing you how the big online retailers have their warehouse systems organized: