Warehousing is the storing of goods and materials in professionally managed facilities designed explicitly for their safekeeping and management. As such, warehouses play a critical role in supply chains and contribute to the smooth flow of goods from manufacturers to consumers.
By following proper warehousing practices, logistics companies can streamline supply chains, reduce lead times, and ensure the delivery of goods in a timely, cost-effective manner.
Key Aspects of Warehousing in the Logistics Industry
While shipping, tracking, and delivery are some of the most active — and noticeable — activities in logistics, warehouses serve several essential functions in the industry. Without effective warehousing, national and global supply chains can seriously suffer.
For starters, warehouses provide a secure and controlled environment where companies can store their goods and inventories. These facilities can hold various products for different time frames, depending on specific storage requirements. They also play a significant role in inventory management, as effective warehousing tracks the quantities of goods in stock, monitors expiration dates, manages product rotation, and ensures that available stock meets consumer demand.
Additionally, warehouses often function as consolidation points where products from different suppliers are brought together and distributed as a single shipment. They can also be the point where bulk shipments are broken down into smaller loads for distribution. Some warehouses may even engage in cross-docking, a process where incoming goods are transferred to outbound vehicles without being stored for an extended period. This efficiency-enhancing process reduces storage time and increases the speed of distribution.
Some warehouses also operate as fulfillment centers where warehouse staff members pack items for shipping when customer and supplier orders are placed. However, as technology advances, this process has become highly automated in modern e-commerce fulfillment centers.
Due to their critical role in the distribution network, most warehouses are strategically located to enable efficient transportation to and from various locations across the country and around the world.
Warehousing in a Post-Pandemic World
COVID-19 changed so much in the global economy — supply chains included. From logistics companies to everyday consumers, people started to think about supply chains differently due to the pandemic. Business continuity became a priority as companies struggled to maintain customer expectations. Companies shifted their focus from cost reduction and productivity enhancement to innovation and efficiency optimization. Buyers and sellers began collaborating in new ways, and supply chain workarounds became standard practice.
The pandemic completely rewired the way people think about e-commerce. The surge in demand is unlikely to stop in this post-pandemic world, which means warehousing experts will continue the pivot from packing entire pallets for retail locations to packing individual boxes shipped directly to consumers. The massive growth in omnichannel distribution has warehouses looking for advanced processes and technologies that enable the delivery — and possible return — of products.
If you ask people what they remember about the pandemic, one of the things they’ll probably mention is supply shortages. Before COVID-19 disrupted every industry, manufacturers made products just in time to ensure they weren’t spending unnecessary money on products that wouldn’t get purchased. Since the disastrous shortages of the pandemic era, manufacturers have moved toward a just-in-case policy, keeping excess inventory on hand to prevent future shortages and production shutdowns. These extra products need to be stored somewhere, and the surge in product growth has produced a critical shortage in warehouse space. Companies have found themselves scrambling for any space that comes available.
Here’s the problem: warehouse space is hard to come by, which forces logistics companies to get creative with warehouse space. And when warehouse space becomes available, companies buy more space than they need in anticipation of future product growth. Companies are continuing to stockpile supplies to weather inconsistencies in supply chain delivery. So, there doesn’t just need to be enough warehouse space for the present — there must be enough for the anticipated future. This is the challenge facing companies, logistics providers, and the industry as a whole.
The UCW Difference
We’re committed to meeting your logistics needs, so your products can get to your consumers on time every time. Shipping your goods should be as stress-free as possible, and we make that possible by strategically planning every aspect of your freight’s journey. As part of that planning process, we go to great lengths to ensure we have the warehouse space you need when you need it.
With UCW Logistics, you’ll get the necessary warehouse visibility and space, all near major port cities. We have access to extensive partnerships that will help you streamline your supply chain process, and our ability to handle inbound and outbound transportation, offer transload solutions, and consolidate your freight when necessary allows us to make sure your cargo gets exactly where it needs to be.
When it comes to warehousing, our WMS (warehouse management system) keeps your warehouse experience as smooth as possible. Even better, we’ll drive down your costs even further by including transportation in the total warehousing cost.
Interested in warehousing your products with UCW? Contact us today, and a member of our team will be happy to help you with all your warehousing needs.