By Fred Albrecht, Managing Director, APC Storage Solutions SA
Because modern consumer demands place greater emphasis on lower prices and faster services, a greater reliance on successful supply chain designs, systems, processes and equipment is needed. It is essential to properly align a logistics and warehouse solution with a company’s promise to its customers.
Storage solutions companies provide a series of professional consultation services that elevate logistics and warehousing best practices to accommodate these industry demands.
For companies looking to improve profitability by either revamping or creating entire supply chains, or by simply building a new warehouse, a holistic logistics planning service is needed.
In the case of Greenfield projects, numerous factors need to be considered, with these companies needing to carefully plot the ideal warehouse location within the supplier and customer distribution network.
Suppliers and distributors that are well positioned in relation to a warehouse generate substantial savings in fuel and other transport-related costs. This service also helps to eliminate bottlenecking in distribution processes, and can optimise for future growth of the supply chain, turning warehouses into enhanced, high-capacity nerve centres.
Consultants need to analyse factors like road conditions, toll roads, peak in- and out-bound traffic times, and property prices, among many others, to determine suitable locations for such nerve centres.
In existing warehouses where overall performance is sub-optimal, solutions companies can assess layouts, operating procedures and management skills. Based on state-of-the-art warehouse mapping software and leading logistics expertise, these companies can make a series of recommendations, re-engineer operating procedures, and tailor-make training packages to address every shortcoming.
It is important to test and measure all components within a warehouse system: checking rust, mechanical damage, and metal fatigue, and correcting faulty racking installations.
For green and brownfield projects, these companies can design and test new racking system layouts to provide increased storage capacity, productivity and safety. Furthermore they provide unique material handling solutions that help achieve maximum warehouse efficiency.
Well-paired warehouse layouts and material handling equipment means that, from receiving ends to dispatch, items travel the quickest and most logical routes avoiding cross traffic and backups. The result is lower cost-per-picks, as time and energy required to move items is kept as low as possible.
Storage solution companies provide all project management and technical support during and after the construction, commissioning, and user acceptance testing (UAT) phases, all in preparation for a successful ramp up process.
Warehouse consultants further consider return-on-investments by creating models and designs that compare operational expenditures with capital investments. Balancing the two expenditures grants warehouse owners long-term productivity and profitability.