First 30 Days Blog

09 may

Well-known Companies and Their Warehouses

RobertCordrayLarge box retail chains with large stock and receivables depend on effective movement of goods into and out of the warehouse. Accurate, reliable, and fast cubing, weighing, and scanning systems must be effectively integrated to move products quickly.

Warehouse needs and considerations of large companies are fairly predictable, and industry experts watch the trends to predict changes in the warehousing industry. Value-added warehousing includes storage and system transportation management capabilities. Traffic and shipment needs and schedules fluctuate on a daily basis, so logistics planning and shipment management are crucial components of product movement.

Logistics matter. In a conventional warehouse, high volume transportation of heavy products over long distances can increase product damage. The use of the right flexible Storage/Retrieval Machine (S/RM) can reduce costs of transporting stock through large horizontal and vertical distances in any warehouse. Safe handling of pallets requires the right automated system for tracking and controlling inventory to increase accuracy and eliminate product damage.

The right automation system in any warehouse will also reduce overall costs including labor costs because they lower workforce requirements and increase safety. A typical conventional manually operated fork-truck, for example, handles an average of 15 pallets per hour. Automated cranes can handle an average of 85 pallets per hour, which means they do the work of 15 fork trucks. The right design and installation of automated storage solutions for manufacturers and distributors can triple their storage capacity.

The right automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) should be considered and designed as early in the planning process as possible for any high-density warehouse. Large and fast-distribution companies should assess a number of profit-driving factors when deciding how to automate their warehouse, including:

• Labeling applications- larger warehouse capacity for full automatic or quasi-automatic print and apply label system.

• Barcode systems- fixed or multiple applications should provide flexibility for the right barcode scanning system.

• Shipping systems- large automated warehouse requirements for end of line systems to scan, convey, weigh, label and communicate with host and shipping software.

• Receiving systems for automatic slotting, inventory control and inventory verification.

Most of the big box retailers have an automated system for warehouse and inventory control. Walmart, for example, has 42 regional U.S. distribution centers. Each Walmart distribution center is over 1 million square feet, with more than 12 miles of conveyor belts moving 5.5 billion cases of merchandise. Several Walmart distribution centers operate twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week.

Target has 37 distribution centers in the United States, and uses automation as well as manual retrieval of warehoused merchandise. Target employs more than 16,000 staff in its distribution centers and delivers products to over 1,700 Target stores.

Many corporations outsource their warehousing systems. Outsourced warehousing has created a separate industry of third-party logistics providers. (3PL). These providers are gauged according to their warehousing space and services, which are increasing nationwide. From 2010 to 2011, the top 20 3PL warehouse operators increased their square footage 5.6%, from 514 million square feet to 543 million square feet. 3PL vacancy rates are declining and the amount of space under management is on the rise, however, the industry is not building new warehouse space.

The top 3PL warehouses in North America currently include DHL Exel Supply, with a total storage space of 95 million square feet. Genco ATC, closely following DHL Exel Supply has a total of 37 million square feet of warehouse space. In the No. 3 position is Jacobson Companies. Jacobson’s total square footage is 35 million square feet.

The 3PL industry is also growing in the international sector. Pepsico, for example, owner and manufacturer of a large portfolio of billion-dollar brands including Frito-Lay, Quaker, Pepsi-Cola, Tropicana, and Gatorade, outsources its warehousing, freight management and distribution operations in the Netherlands. Pepsico wanted to reduce customer response time and supply chain costs, and awarded a ten-year contract to Kuehne + Nagel for its Dutch warehousing and distribution activities.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on May 9th, 2014 in Career, Technology | 0 comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

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