What Is Warehouse Logistics? Components, Challenges & Tips

Warehouse logistics is the backbone of every supply chain operation, as it ensures the efficient storage, handling, and distribution of goods.

With the ideal warehouse logistics in place, your organization can cut costs, speed up deliveries, and meet changing consumer demands.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about warehouse logistics, including its key components and best practices.

We’ll also share automated solutions at Modula to help optimize your operations, increase efficiency, and improve the overall performance in your warehouse.

Streamline your warehouse operations.

What Is Warehouse Logistics?

Warehouse logistics is the process of organizing, coordinating, managing, and implementing the storage and movement of goods in a warehouse.

The process includes handling the physical flow of items, such as shipping and receiving, and efficiently managing information and time.

Warehouse logistics also utilizes advanced technologies and smart strategies to improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction, and cut costs.

Warehouse Logistics -Processes
Warehouse Logistics -Processes

Supply Chain vs. Warehouse Logistics

While supply chains and logistics are related, they serve different roles in business operations.

Managing your supply chain involves overseeing the flow of goods and services from point A (the facility) to point B (the consumers), and collaborating closely with suppliers, distributors, and customers.

On the other hand, warehouse logistics focuses on handling goods within your warehouse or distribution center, aiming to improve inventory management, reduce storage costs, and optimize order fulfillment.

Key Components of Warehouse Logistics

Each component of warehouse logistics plays a key role in ensuring inventory moves swiftly and accurately from your facility to consumers.

Let’s dive into the three main components of warehousing logistics:

Warehouse Management

A key aspect of logistics is continuously improving your warehouse’s daily operations. This includes refining warehouse tasks to boost efficiency and meet market needs.

Warehouse management is essential for organizing, cross-docking and distributing inventory. It also includes overseeing staff, maintaining safety standards and building connections with shipping companies.

Warehouse Operations

Effective warehouse management can help improve the movement of goods inside and out of your warehouse.

Optimizing your operations offers a plethora of benefits, including:

  • Reduced inventory and shipping costs
  • Improved warehouse organization
  • Boosted employee productivity
  • Accurate picking

Warehouse Management System (WMS)

A warehouse management system (WMS) is a software solution that can help you organize and manage warehouse tasks.

You can also integrate a WMS with a wide range of technologies, such as RFID technology, barcode scanning and historical data and reporting.

It provides your warehouse operators with a comprehensive view of your inventory and oversees processes from receiving to distribution, including data collection.

Challenges of Warehouse Logistics

Properly managing inventory is paramount to streamlining warehouse operations. However, inventory management often poses unique challenges that can affect the productivity and efficiency of operations.

According to Manufacturing.net, around 20 to 30% of inventory is obsolete, even in well-run companies. This can cost them up to 11% of revenue loss, highlighting the importance of gaining full visibility into your goods.

Key challenges of warehouse logistics include:

  • Space constraints: Limited warehouse space significantly challenges warehousing logistics, leading to inefficient storage, difficulty finding items and longer material handling times.
  • Inefficient picking strategy: Picking, packing, and shipping errors can lead to incorrect or incomplete orders which may result in customer complaints, costly returns, and loss of revenue. For example, if your employee picks the wrong SKU, it must be verified and returned to the packing area for correction.
  • Ineffective labor management: Warehouses often experience labor shortages during peak seasons, which typically occurs when consumers prepare for the holidays. Ineffective labor management can cause excessive workloads and significantly reduce productivity levels.
  • Inaccurate inventory management: Effectively managing inventory means keeping accurate stock levels to avoid both overstocks and stockouts. Businesses must also handle different SKUs, a variety of product features and changing demand.

Warehouse employees sorting boxes on conveyor belts​
Poor labor management can significantly minimize productivity​

Tips to Improve Your Warehouse Logistics

Warehouse logistics best practices include methods that focus on optimizing space utilization, enhancing inventory accuracy, leveraging technology for efficiency and more.

Warehouse logistics - BEST PRACTICES
Warehouse Logistics – Best practices

Here’s how you can improve your warehouse logistics:

Select a Strategic Warehouse Layout

An effective warehouse layout improves inventory flow. If your warehouse is disorganized or cluttered, modifying its layout can streamline processes by eliminating confusing setups.

You can choose from a wide range of layouts, such as the U-, I- and L-shaped design layouts.

  • In the U-shaped layout, the flow of goods moves in a U shape. It begins and finishes at the open ends of the U, which are typically designated for shipping and receiving. This setup allows for efficient movement between these critical areas.
  • In the I-shaped layout, operations flow in a straight line, facilitating a direct path from receiving to shipping. The I-shaped design allows for a linear flow from receiving to shipment.
  • In the L-shaped layout, operations flow in a configuration that resembles the letter “L”. This layout maximizes the use of a warehouse’s corners, which is particularly beneficial for facilities that need to separate different functions within the same building. For example, one leg of the “L” can be allocated for receiving and processing, while the other is for storage and shipping.

Invest in Warehouse Technology

As warehouses expand, using smart systems like autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), automated guided vehicles (AGVs), and warehouse robots can help cut down on manual work and boost picking speed and accuracy.

Moreover, adopting warehouse storage solutions like automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) can help reduce manual errors like mispicks, inaccurate inventory counts and misplaced items.

These systems also save space, improve picking accuracy and enhance overall productivity.

At Modula, our state-of-the-art ASRS, including Modula Vertical Lift Modules (VLMs), can help optimize your warehouse logistics.

Modula’s VLMs are the ideal automated vertical storage solutions that can store various parts and components in your facility, regardless of their size and dimensions. By utilizing high ceilings, you can also significantly reduce the space needed for storage.

If ceiling height is a concern, Modula Horizontal Carousels (HC) offer a safe and efficient way to store inventory in one place.

Optimize your current warehouse space.

Utilize the Ideal Order Picking Strategy and Systems

The best picking strategy can help minimize, or even eliminate, mispicks. This further reduces costly returns and product exchanges.

To choose the best order picking strategy for your business, consider factors like the size of your inventory, the variety of items, order volume and the layout of your warehouse.

For example, if you have a high volume of similar small items, a zone picking strategy, where pickers are responsible for specific areas and pass items down a line, might be most efficient.

You can also try automated picking solutions to increase picking speed and accuracy by replacing pick tickets with light devices and minimizing the inventory search time.

At Modula, we provide reliable picking systems that seamlessly integrate with our storage solutions, ensuring order accuracy and efficiency.

Improve picking accuracy and efficiency.
Modula Picking Solutions

Optimize Your Warehouse Workforce

To maintain peak productivity in your warehouse, make sure you have the right number of skilled workers.

To balance your staff, it’s crucial to understand how management needs fluctuate alongside demand.

For example, you’ll likely need more staff before and after a busy holiday season, to manage both increased orders and post-holiday returns.

An advanced WMS can help improve your warehouse logistics, as it streamlines a wide range of processes, from inventory tracking to setting access levels. This ensures accurate, real-time data is always available.

Modula’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) is designed to integrate seamlessly with our advanced ASRS. It’s customized to enhance operations, offering an easy-to-use interface for simple management and real-time inventory tracking.

Monitor orders and track stock levels in real-time.
Modula WMS

Prioritize Employee Training

While warehouse management systems can perform different tasks, such as monitoring the location and movement of goods within your facility, your employees will still need training on how to use these innovations.

Consider implementing regular training sessions, like simulation training and coaching, to ensure all your warehouse operators can safely use the equipment.

A warehouse employee conducting forklift training​
Ensure your employees are properly trained to reduce potential workplace incidents and maintain an optimal level of efficiency​

Adopt Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is an approach to warehouse management that strives to boost efficiency, improve productivity and cut waste, such as excess stock and unnecessary labor hours, without affecting overall productivity.

To achieve lean manufacturing in your operations:

  • Identify and eliminate unnecessary steps in your workflows to make your operations more efficient
  • Train and involve employees in identifying areas for improvement, ensuring they have the skills and authority to make changes
  • Regularly review processes and implement improvements, aiming for ongoing enhancement of efficiency and productivity

Coordinate With Suppliers and Contractors

Contractors and suppliers are crucial to your company’s operations. Work closely with them by coordinating warehouse logistics, such as sharing delivery times or scheduling deliveries, to better manage your inventory.

At Modula, we provide advanced automated solutions to improve your warehouse logistics. Reach out to learn how we can customize our technology for your operations.

Our experts are available to provide tailored advice and solutions for your business.

Invest in advanced warehouse automation.
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