There is significant value in departments working together within an organization. Is many cases marketers and sellers are separated from the facility planners, operations management, and warehouse staff. Here we look at the vital relationship these departments must have within a facility.
We’ll focus this discussion on material handling and storage equipment. Marketers and sellers will need to provide the following information to the operations team: Who are the consumers? Where are they located? Why are they purchasing our product? Where do they purchase it? What is the market size? Are there any trends to watch for? What is the expected quota for our entire sales team? What is the expected growth?
These questions will have critical information for warehouse management and others to properly run the distribution or manufacturing portion of the facility. What issues will result in the information obtained from marketing and selling? How does this impact the material handling and storage system?
Here we review what impacts the information will have on facility planners, ops’ management, and warehouse staff:
Packaging: How do we package the goods? How will they picked? Is the storage system we have or considering already engineered to hold the weight?
Product changes: How flexible is our operation if product changes are realized? Do we expect product changes? What type of predications do we need in place to ensure a successful operation and material handling structure.
Facilities locations: Where we located? What are the access points to major routes? Do our customers have easy access to our goods? Will our freight partners have quick access to docks when shipping and receiving? Consider the methods of shipping and warehousing systems to accommodate customer demands.
Seasonability: Is there variability in sales based on the information provided by the marketing department? How will that affect your staffing program? Your operations and warehouse may experience slow periods and it’s critical to plan ahead for such times. Marketing will help facility and space planners account for shipping and receiving fluctuations.
Unit load sizes: Is your customer base the end user or a distribution partner? Do you process orders in pallets or by units? This will affect the picking system you have in place and of course the pallet racking. Is your racking suitable for a combination of hand bombed items and palletized goods?
Future trends: What do future sales look like? What is the competitive landscape look like? Perhaps you can assess the warehouse and operations team of your competitors if available to help determine your competitive advantage and see future trends in the industry. Will your racking need changed due to future trends? Will you need new forklifts, or new forklift accessories? Consider the need for future flexibility. This will help planners and ops’ staff plan and implement the required strategy.
Space allocations: Similar to future trends, your space allocations in racking and ability to move the material with forklift equipment is important. Consider drawings for changes in your existing warehouse and use them as alternatives. Measure the risks. For example what is the cost benefit, risk analysis, and achievability of moving to a new warehouse minimizing business disturbance? Is expansion within your own facility more likely? Space planners and management will need to analyze space allocations to ensure an efficient operation.