A warehouse is a house used in the storage of goods for commercial purposes. It has been noted that warehouses are commonly used by exporters, importers, manufacturers, transport businesses, wholesalers and customs among other establishments. Warehouses are huge plain buildings strategically located in areas with easy access to loading docks to facilitate offloading and loading of trucks, seaports, airports and railways among other transport means (Forger, 2005). Majority of warehouses have forklifts and cranes which facilitate movement of goods within the facility. Stored goods may be spare parts, raw materials, packaging materials, finished goods and components associated with production, agriculture or manufacturing among others (Napolitano, 2007).
Contemporary and traditional warehousing objectives and functions are pegged to receiving, storage, sorting, identification, dispatching, placing in storage, retrieval from storage, shipping, packing, order accumulation and record keeping of goods among others (Napolitano, 2007). Traditional warehousing functions have been influenced by the global changes fuelled by the socialization and technology. Technology has changed the face of warehousing as compared to warehousing three to four decades ago; where the systems were carried out manually.
It has been noted that contemporary warehousing functions has added changes in space utilization, protection of materials, equipment utilization, material accessibility and in labor utilization. In modern world, it is argued that goods should be stored in adequate space, with the application of proper techniques and equipments, with the engagement of trained workforce who make sure that goods are stored in planned layouts; which are critical in making sure that goods are in maximum protection (Forger, 2005).
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) is backed with user-level tools and a database that make sure that an organization have optimized the storage facilities and at the same time ensuring that user-levels are appropriately supporting in activities that need attention and direction. System logic is used in ensuring the best sequences and locations as the employees optimize pick, replenish functions and put-away the products (Napolitano, 2007).
Value Added Services (VAS) is attached to services considered to be beyond fax and voice transmissions, the model is mainly applicable in the telecommunications industry. VAS has changed the way information is relayed in warehousing. Findings indicated that VAS is commonly provided by mobile network operators, content providers (CP) or Value Added Service Provider (VASP).
Cross docking is part of technological development in warehousing; it is argued that cross docking is characterized with unloading and loading of goods to transport agents without necessarily storing the goods (Forger, 2005). Cross docking has been in existence, but the advent of technology has made it easy and efficient. Contemporary WMS is also characterized with tailor made software that address the exact needs of the clients, such software identify with 3PL, LogFire and SaaS among others.
Kirkland’s new warehousing operations involves managing inventory owned by other organizations. It is a new concept in that market that has led to evolution in warehousing (Forger, 2005). The Distribution Centers (DC) are developed in ways that they facilitate efficient and fast flow of the products while at the same time reducing if not eliminating storage. State-of-the-Art warehousing technology has also made warehousing easy, cheap and fast; as goods are delivered at exemplary speeds. Science and technology has led to major reforms in warehousing (Forger, 2005).
Warehouse Management System has experienced drastic changes in the recent decades. Organizations have heavily invested in research and design hence developing diverse models of making it easy, cost effective and efficient in operating a warehouse. Times have changed with socialization and globalization; mainly in streamlining the workflows, storage facilities, improving processes in and out of the warehouse and enhancing efficient distribution of goods in warehouses (Napolitano, 2007).
Forger, G. (2005). Kirkland’s New Home. Modern Materials Handling , 3-22.
Napolitano, M. (2007). Value Turns Warehouse into DCs. Modern Material Handling , 19-55.