The success of a company’s warehousing and distribution services can be important in their ability to delight customers. Heck, in most companies these two “links” are critical components in the entire business supply chain! Whether you’re talking raw materials or finished goods, it’s tough to make products or sell them…if you’re chasing inventory 24/7.
As a result, even in this digital age, savvy business executives know effective and efficient supply chains result in optimized costs and increased profits. They know how to leverage Distribution Services to get financial results.
Think of the Warehouse as the Nucleus of the Operation
Within a Distribution Center, the warehouse serves as the central space for inventory in a variety of ways. Goods are sent to the warehouse and organized in a highly nuanced manner. These products are stored in their respective spaces until the orders roll in. In essence, warehouses serve as the hub that originates the distribution of products to customers.
Warehouse personnel have previously been mischaracterized as heavy lifters that simply move products to their appropriate spaces. In modern day distribution centers, warehouse professionals are logistics experts equipped with technology to accept inbound shipments, identify products, sort through those products and organizing them in a manner that allows for quick and easy retrieval.
Inventory is strategically stored to meet client needs related to safety, security and inventory turnover times. The storage process in a warehouse may seem random but a warehouse that is efficient and fast is a priceless one. Conversely, a warehouse that lacks safety, ample spacing and the proper conditions (temperature, humidity level etc.) will inevitably disappoint customers and increase supply chain expense.
Services to Ensure Supply Chain Viability and Efficiency
The services provided within a well-equipped Distribution Center, empowers a business to ensure the proper products are readily available exactly when necessary. Whether orders require bulk, break-bulk, pick and pack, kitting, special storage or handling, assembly or shipment consolidation, the warehouse serves as ground zero for all such happenings.
Here are a few services that are very effective in maintaining end user satisfaction but often go un-noticed:
- Most warehouse managers engage in the practice of “safety stocking”. This means a specific number of each inventory item is stored within the warehouse at all times. Safety stocking is prudent as warehouses are relied upon to ensure customers receive their goods in good condition regardless of challenges with weather and transportation.
Think of this practice as a backup plan that guarantees outbound orders are completed in exact accordance with consumer orders without delay.
It’s an insurance policy of sorts against an item being out of stock when customer orders roll in. From the inbound side of things, safety stocking prevents logistics challenges like trucking breakdowns and damaged shipments from resulting in a failure to fulfill customer orders.
- Many Distribution Centers determine that clients will benefit from a cross-docking solution where inbound freight is immediately moved to a separate dock for outbound service, whereby avoiding storage and accelerating the supply chain. Cross-docking ultimately boosts the value of the overarching system.
- Distribution Centers can simplify inventory and logistics processes by utilizing “central hubs” that consolidate orders in a highly efficient manner. Consolidation expedites order delivery also serves to free up as storage space in the warehouse and expedites order delivery a. From the customer’s perspective, consolidation empowers the business to sell its products at lower costs. Consolidation also allows for order delivery as quickly as possible. In the end, customers who receive low-cost goods in a timely manner are inclined to place repeated orders and remain loyal to the business across posterity.
If not for the strategic benefits provided by Distribution Centers, logistic systems (order processing, inventory management, and freight transportation) would fail to achieve their primary purposes of reduced cycle times, cutting costs and maximizing customer satisfaction.
The Conclusion and Economic Advantages
Distribution Centers, and the services offered within make a positive impact on the bottom line in a number of ways. As explained above, the centers:
- provide a central hub for warehousing and order fulfillment that make operations hyper-efficient
- enhance the business’s ability to produce and sell more items through increased inventory and storage capacity
- reduce the need to transport products individually by routing first to the warehouse then assembling into a consolidated order before sending to the customer.
About BR Williams:
With humble beginnings back in 1958, BR Williams has grown into an award-winning supply chain management company servicing all 48 contiguous states and Canada. With facilities in Mobile AL; Piedmont, AL; Tallahassee, FL; Anniston, AL (two facilities); Eastaboga, AL; and Oxford, AL, B.R. Williams’ distribution network supports over 50 customers and another 2,550 in the Trucking and Logistics divisions. Industries served include the following: automotive, defense, home improvement, education, food raw materials, textiles, chemical, industrial packaging, metals (finished goods), highway safety and more.