Origin and Evolution of Warehouse Management Systems
Not everyone is responsive to the concepts of warehousing and inventory management. Even those who are closely involved in this industry do not have an in-depth idea of how the notions of the warehouse management system (WMS) witnessed the light of the day and eventually got recognized by the general public. If we go by what the studies and reports suggest; we can figure out that the main issue behind their foundation was nothing but a shortage of storage space for the retention of raw materials, inventory, and final goods.
The Idea behind Warehouse Conception and Its Acceptance
It was during the mid-90s that the idea of the warehouse, storage, and their role in the realm of supply chain gradually started getting noticed and acknowledged by both businesses and customers at the same time. Slowly, the concept of warehouse and warehousing became widely accepted and soon after turned out to be a part and parcel of our lives. Although warehousing was an additional feature in the supply chain network, it allowed striking a fair balance between the transference of goods ensuring smooth flow of materials, thereby making the process somewhat expensive.
In case you are new to this concept, knowing a brief of the warehousing system, its different types and each of their roles in the distribution channel would certainly be worthwhile.
We may not realize but the significance of warehouses in the supply chain is underrated. Usually, when a warehouse is constructed, it serves either of the mentioned purposes – it is a regional warehouse, a bonded warehouse, cold storage, a local warehouse, a government warehouse, and many more that have recently been introduced to the supply chain market.
While all of these mentioned warehousing concepts have a particular mode of operation and handling, the distribution centers or distribution warehouse is meant for a distinct purpose.
Just like any general warehouse, the concept of warehousing is to store goods within a secure, well-maintained space for either a short period or until duration storage is needed for those. In this general warehousing concept, there is limited handling of belongings all through the process and also everything remains under continual security check so there remains no issue of theft.
On the other hand, distribution centers are established for the fulfillment of stock delivery at the destination. The concept of distribution centers is different – these stockrooms are where goods (inventory) are retained from the client party, stored for the specified duration, and segregated as individual shipments that are to be delivered to different locations. The basic difference between a warehouse and a distribution center is only that the former allows you to retain and maintain your inventory with them for as long as you want, while the latter is incepted only for goods movement and shipment as required by the company or customer.
Brief History of Warehousing Systems in the Country
Although none of us can mention particularly when exactly warehousing began and when everything did come into being, some information sources trace the history of warehousing way back to the early 20th century. The country witnessed rapid development where all the core elements of the economy were seen to firm their footing and contribute their bit to the growth of the nation.
That was the time of innovation and production, growth and expansion and since the major sectors of the economy were only dealing with the transfer of final goods from one end to another, the role of inventory flow became important. Raw materials saw coming in, in bulk, and production time was reduced because managing surplus goods became tough and this led to the integration of some major external factors into the business – with more labor input, assimilation of the latest technology into the production, and so on. Finally, when final manufactured goods were released, there was a dearth of space for goods storage and that is when the idea of warehousing and storage was prioritized again for easy accessibility of goods and hassle-free management of inventory.
Warehousing Challenges Faced Along the Way
This logistic growth was not witnessed easily. There were countless challenges along the way and everything took a lot of time to eventually shape up. The major drawback was a shortage of manpower because, for effortless warehouse management, there was a dire need for an able workforce that would be trained in the concepts of warehousing management and inventory retention.
To ascertain the smooth flow of goods from one point to another, 3PL setup again came into a vision that offered comprehensive support to warehousing logistics by organizing and managing every facet of goods transference as seamlessly as possible. A multitude of procedures was carried out to optimize the efficiency of warehousing, new-age technology and techniques were implemented and automation was integrated into the systems so that the scope of challenges can diminish.
Some of the Major Disputes Faced In The Process of Warehouse Management
- Malfunctioning of Warehouse
- High Warehousing Cost due to high demand
- Poor Space Management in Warehouses
- Traditional Warehouse Layout
- Absence of Proper Inventory
- Lack of Climate Control Amenities
- Improper Order Management
- Keeping Operational Things Complicated
- Warehouse Accessibility Issue
Overcoming these warehousing challenges became even more important when the demand for warehousing saw a high rise. The problems persisting in the warehousing industry brought speed, efficiency, and productivity to a standstill.
To address the issue, a bunch of modern, efficient, and practical approaches were introduced into the domain of warehousing management practices. Some of which are addressed below:
- Heightening warehouse safety at all levels
- Transfer manual to virtual data management
- Implement easy inventory tracking
- Focus on easy accessibility of goods
- Time-to-time tracking of performance
Warehousing was, is, and shall always be a major constituent of the supply chain and logistics sector. Ideal inception and set up of warehousing management at the right place can eliminate all the possible challenges that one may face during the flow of goods from one origin to another point. There is a reason why warehousing is considered to be the building block of supply chain management that is what holds everything firm and ensures the smooth running of stock and inventory.