Warehousing and Logistics: How Important is Synchronization?
By: David Sherman – Lean Logistics Specialist
Warehousing is a key component of logistics management and how businesses manage the transportation and storage of their inventories. Warehousing and logistics must be aligned within a firm to have the most efficient effect on overall manufacturing production as well as outbound logistics activities. The collaboration between these two functions must be utilized effectively while also maintaining high levels of synchronization in order to garner the most efficiency and effectiveness within the firm, as well as the supply chain as a whole.
What’s the Difference?
Warehousing and logistics are two different aspects of similar functions within the supply chain. Warehousing is the safe storage of goods, inventory, information, etc. within a specified area or building. Logistics is the overarching principles and function of: transportation, warehousing, internal movement, of the same goods, inventory, information, etc. to a manufacturing line or back to the firm from the customer (reverse logistics). Warehousing and logistics are a tandem in terms of their operational scope so ensuring these components collaborate in regards to operations is key.
Warehousing and logistics functions must assuredly be aligned and synchronized in order to be most effective and efficient. Synchronization refers to the individual operations working together in regards to eliminating idiosyncrasies within warehousing and logistics day to day activities. Synchronization can be the alignment of logistics functions such as transportation window times (pickups and deliveries) in regards to warehousing staffing constraints. This scheduling synchronization allows for the optimal number of employees and machinery to load and unload shipments at the scheduled times, reducing waste, idle time(s), and re-work.
Other forms of synchronization between warehousing and logistics include buying patterns for inbound parts to alleviate stresses on dock constraints as well as facility storage constraints (racking etc.). Reducing the inbound volume of shipments to match outbound volume will help create a level flow of parts throughout the warehouse as well as other parts of the supply chain. Warehousing and logistics are two critical components of efficient delivery of goods, inventory, information, etc. to manufacturing lines as well as onto other customers (internal customers as well) so synchronization and collaboration will also help alleviate stresses and constraints in these areas as well.
What Benefits Does Synchronization Provide?
When warehousing and logistics successfully collaborates with other areas of the supply chain, more and more opportunities for synchronization as well as waste elimination will arise. As other members and proponents within the supply chain collaborate and utilize synchronization techniques, stresses on the supply chain will be reduced internally and externally facilitating more opportunities for success. Warehousing and logistics play a key role in the supply chain network as a whole and dictate how other areas of the supply chain network will operate and perform in regards to customer demands and requirements. As these synchronization opportunities and relationships continue to get stronger and stronger, waste elimination and total cost reduction will be optimized throughout the supply chain network.
What can your company do in order to synchronize its warehousing and logistics operations?Share