Getting things from A to B is the name of the game in transport and logistics. Warehouse, storage and inventory management is an integral part of that process. This subsector requires people who are able to think logically and quickly to accommodate the supply of goods entering and leaving a warehouse.
Contrary to popular belief, these careers involve so much more than packing boxes, drinking thick tea and loading lorries. Mistakes can be very costly and many warehouses are fitted with some of the latest and most complicated computer infrastructures in existence.
What does warehouse management involve?
A warehouse with organised storage and an accurate inventory are vital for running many businesses. Put simply, companies need to have the right products in the right place at the right time, or prospective clients will use alternatives. Who is going to wait three days for the next order of biros?
There are a wide range of different people involved in the storage process, from pickers, packers and forklift drivers processing orders in the warehouse, to office staff and managers taking new orders and overseeing the efficiency of the facility, not to mention the array of maintenance staff that often work 24 hours a day to make sure everything keeps moving.
Most warehouses use complex inventory systems that allow managers to see exactly what is in the warehouse, exactly where it is, where it needs to go and when it needs to be shifted. Many are connected to national and international networks. They can track goods across the globe and so can react to factors, such as strikes in France or bad weather in the Atlantic, which may cause a delay in the supply of goods. This allows contingencies to be put in place, which prevent interruptions in the supply chain.
Why is warehouse management so important?
The operations of a warehouse can be broadly divided between goods coming in and goods going out. Clearly, it is essential that the warehouse inventory is managed properly, so that there is enough space to store inbound goods and to ensure that shops, restaurants or production facilities are supplied with outbound goods at the right time in the correct quantity.
Get it wrong and there are going to be losses to the retailer, whether it is customers choosing alternatives or escalating transport costs. Worse still, it can halt production in other areas of the business. If your burger restaurant doesn’t have any burgers, there are going to plenty of unhappy and hungry customers!
Fancy a career in warehouse, storage and inventory management? If so check out the occupational profile of a warehouse manager to find out more!