A warehouse is a building used to hold bulk goods upon receipt and before shipment. Warehouses present an interesting history, since in early time communities used open pits to hold bulk goods. The pits were ferociously guarded against thieves and raiders. Warehouses began early, too, and even in ancient Rome there was a public warehouse known as the horreum, which became a necessary building in ancient Rome. The warehouse today is also a necessary building everywhere around the world.
Trends in Warehousing
The use of traditional warehousing has declined since the end of the twentieth century. Many suppliers now send merchandise directly to consumers, reducing the need for interim warehouses just for shipping of goods. Warehouses still exist.
The warehouse involves a complex system for management of goods. Experts talk about Dimensions of Warehouse Complexity. These include warehouse size (1,000,000 square foot warehouses are known); layout; amount of work; types of goods; and degree of automation. Complex warehouse technology has been developed as well, and modern warehouses all utilize technology to maximize efficiency and minimize warehousing cost.
Equipment Needed in Warehouse Operations
All warehouses utilize equipment in their operations. Modern warehousing would be impossible without equipment streamlined to suit its purpose in warehousing. There are four pieces of equipment that every warehouse will need every day. These are shrink wrap kits; conveyors; lifts; and pallet trucks. These are essentials for all warehouses. Shrink wrapping is useful for wrapping packaged goods and combining multiple items for shipping. A conveyor belt or gravity conveyor makes good use of warehouse space. Adjustable for size and shape, the conveyor can be made to fit any warehouse. The lift or forklift is probably the most important piece of equipment in any warehouse. For instance, in most warehouses items are held overhead at extreme height. The boom lift can be used to reach items held at great height. A pallet truck is also considered critical in modern warehouses. Also known as a pallet jack, the pallet truck is used to move pallets of goods throughout a warehouse.
Because warehousing is such an essential function, knowledge of warehousing is critical for anyone involved in production or distribution of goods. If the supply chain were perfect, there would be no place for warehouses. Unfortunately, the supply chain is far from perfect, and warehousing remains necessary to preserve an effective exchange of goods from maker to end user.
Emma is a freelance writer based out of Boston, MA. She writes most often on health and education. When not writing, she enjoys reading and watching film noir. Say hi on Twitter @EmmaSturgis2