In a competitive business environment, there are a variety of reasons why companies may want to consider outsourcing their warehousing operations. Reputable warehouse service companies will have the expertise to execute the tasks efficiently. They will have already invested in the necessary space, equipment, and technology. Their offerings would likely include inventory management services, cross docking services, and just-in-time delivery.
Although there may be other warehousing services companies offer, we will focus on these three by learning how each works and how companies can benefit from including them in their overall strategy.
What are Inventory Management Services?
Let’s start by defining inventory management. It is the process of tracking the ordering, storage, and usage of goods. These goods can include raw materials, parts, or items that are ready to be sold. Effective inventory management services can help companies control costs and successfully meet their customers’ needs.
Why is Inventory Management Important?
As a company, accurate tracking of your supplies and products is essential. That’s where effective inventory management comes in. Knowing supply and inventory levels at any given time helps companies avoid overselling products and overordering supplies or raw materials.
A company that oversells its products (sells more than what is in its inventory) can end up having dissatisfied customers because their needs aren’t met in a timely manner. In addition, overordering supplies needlessly ties up capital in the raw materials and parts themselves. A plethora of supplies also takes up valuable warehouse space, which can be costly.
Similarly, companies don’t want to hold more inventory than customers are demanding. Also, they don’t want to be caught short on supplies or raw materials when they need to produce more to meet increasing product demands.
What Should Inventory Management Services Include?
Effective inventory management should include optimal storage practices that will reduce labor hours and improve order fulfillment times. Practices should include guidelines for organizing goods and materials in warehouse storage. For example, warehousing companies can store inventory that is in higher demand near the warehouse loading dock to minimize retrieval time.
Also, when done properly, inventory management tracking will collect valuable data for business decision-making. Capturing data on inventory levels of different products or supplies can provide insights into trends and aid in strategic planning.
What is Cross Docking?
Cross docking eliminates or minimizes the time goods are in storage. For example, a truck delivers items to a warehouse, and then those items are eventually loaded onto another vehicle after little or no storage time.
Cross docking services are usually ideal for companies that have inventory with high turnover. These services are also beneficial for companies that sell goods with consistent demand. In this scenario, storage of goods isn’t required to meet periodic peaks in customer demand. Also, companies using raw materials or offering products that are time-sensitive or perishable may find it necessary to use cross docking since items ideally shouldn’t be kept in storage or at least not for very long.
How Do Cross Docking Services Work?
There are a couple of different scenarios where cross docking is beneficial. Companies may need cross docking services to reorganize goods originating from one location and need to be transported to different destinations. Another scenario is when a company’s goods arrive from different locations and require consolidation before trucks transport them to the same destination.
To maximize cross docking’s benefits, the process of unloading, organizing, and reloading should be well-defined and streamlined. In addition, workers need to update the inventory tracking system during this cross docking process. This ensures all the goods are accounted for as they unload and reload them.
What are the Benefits for Companies Using Cross Docking Services?
Cross docking can provide companies cost savings. By consolidating items going to the same locations, items get to their destination faster and reduce the number of vehicles needed to transport inventory. In the end, fewer vehicles mean lower overall transportation costs.
Reduced labor and storage costs are also possible benefits of using cross docking services. Workers won’t be spending time shelving goods in a warehouse. In many cases, this allows companies to operate with a smaller workforce. Additionally, because goods move from one truck to another in a relatively short period of time, warehouse storage is usually unnecessary. In many situations, the goods never go beyond the warehouse dock.
To provide effective cross docking services, the warehouse services company should have enough workers available to reorganize and transfer goods in a timely manner to maximize benefits for their clients.
What is Just-in-Time Delivery?
Just-in-Time delivery is an inventory management strategy that delivers goods at the right or optimal time. The goals of this delivery strategy include minimizing waste and inventory storage costs while increasing efficiencies.
Companies meet these goals by keeping inventory levels low, which can help companies more easily identify damaged goods and avoid surpluses resulting from inaccurate demand forecasts. In addition, companies would have less capital tied up in products and raw materials in inventory. Also, reducing on-site inventory can free up space and workforce to meet the immediate and actual customer demand.
Despite the benefits, a Just-in-Time delivery strategy requires adequate resources. With enough resources companies can manage deliveries from suppliers and to customers while carefully tracking inventory levels in warehouses. The success of a Just-in-Time delivery strategy requires a well-organized system of monitoring supply levels, demand, and resources.
Whether it’s storage or specific warehousing services such as Inventory Management, Cross Docking, or Just-in-Time Delivery, Reynolds Transfer & Storage’s deep experience can help companies increase efficiencies and minimize costs. Contact us, and one of our consultants can work with you to figure out which warehouse services may benefit your company’s operations. We have experience working with companies from several different industries, so we are confident that we can work with you to build a warehousing solution.