Warehousing and Logistics: What are the differences?

We often hear the term ‘Warehousing and Logistics’, as they are part of the same business sector, but many people get them mixed up, and don’t actually know the difference.

Both logistics and warehousing work in tandem to fulfil functions within the supply/demand chain of a business.  Logistics concentrates on the delivery of goods stored in a warehouse, whilst warehousing itself does what it says on the tin; providing safe storage of goods within a building.  In order for both aspects to work effectively, they have to work side by side.  You could say Warehousing and Logistics are a double edged sword; you rarely get one without the other!

What is Warehousing?

Warehousing is the term used for warehouse storage. It is a commercial property or large building where goods are stored before they are dispatched to consumers.  It provides a central location for receipt, storage, and distribution of goods either on a long or short term basis.

Warehousing covers a number of aspects; receiving, unloading, and checking inbound items as well as storage, picking and packing, and returns.

Self-storage warehouse facilities work in a slightly different way, where consumers are in charge of their own units. These are generally used to store large, personal effects, either on a short term basis (in the case of house moves etc) or longer term (permanent storage of large items that consumers have no room for at home).

What is Logistics?

Logistics covers the commercial activity of transporting goods to customers, handling the ‘flow’ of goods and products, both inbound and outbound.  It covers transport and inventory, ultimately moving goods and products to the warehouse for storage, or out of the warehouse for delivery to consumers.  This should not be confused with ‘supply chain management’ which refers to a larger network of outside organisations, including vendors, transportation providers, call centres, and others.

Logistics plays a huge part in our economy. Although many businesses focus on design and production of their products, these would be useless if those products cannot reach suppliers and customers.

So, warehousing and logistics provide two separate functions under the same umbrella.  They provide safe storage and delivery of products.  It would be impossible for one to function without the other!

 

You can find more information on our warehousing solutions here.

Why Should Businesses Make Use of Commercial Storage Facilities?

There are many reasons why a business might need to make use of commercial storage facilities at some point. Moving offices, scaling down the business and storing equipment that is used infrequently are just some.

Here are some common scenarios where we can help with storage for your company.

Relocation

Moving premises is one of the key reasons why you might need a temporary storage solution. If you are moving into smaller premises there may be a need for a slightly longer term solution until you figure out what you will move and what will stay in storage. One thing is for certain: business storage will take some of the stress out of moving.

Infrequent use of equipment

You may have equipment on your premises that is gathering dust as it’s not used very often. This can be items such as exhibition and conference equipment or seasonal items. Storing them offsite at a storage facility will free up your office space and can be retrieved as and when you need them.

Refits and decoration

If you are changing the décor at your business, a short term storage solution may be a much easier option – you can clear the place to make your builder or decorator’s job easier. It may save time in the long run too, rather than having to work around cumbersome furniture and general office paraphernalia.

Surplus stock

If your stock isn’t moving as fast as you’d like, or you’ve just got surplus, commercial storage makes an excellent stop gap until you have the room at your business to store it. With so much retail stock being seasonal, it makes sense to put it into storage until next year when the current season is over.

Archives

UK companies are required by law to keep records for at least six years. This can be difficult if you don’t have the storage space on your site. Storing these records at a dedicated and secure storage facility will help keep your business premises clutter free.

 

Here at Eynesbury Warehousing we can accommodate both long and short term storage solutions which are protected by state of the art alarms and fully recorded CCTV. Call our sales team on 01480 215555 to talk about your company’s requirements.

Changes in the Warehousing Market

During these difficult times, we are seeing massive changes across multiple industries that may be affecting your business. Here are some of the developments that Eynesbury Warehousing have identified towards the end of the last year in the warehousing, supply and logistics category.

During the previous quatre, we noticed an increasing demand for omnichannel retailing that is expected to impact the warehousing industry significantly over the next five years. Latest reports indicate that the rise in online buying is testing the limits of warehouse spaces as customers shift from physical stores to the internet. This drastic shift to virtual shopping is now seeing a rise in the warehouse and storing market.

In addition, the COVID- 19 pandemic has forced countries such as the UK to close their stores and consequently force how shoppers think about their buying behaviours. For example, Amazon, Aldi and Lidl have recently reported that they desperately require additional warehousing space and workforce to keep up with demand. This is because many warehouses are now catering to food products, pharmaceuticals, and essential household goods.

Also, the demand to slow inbound container flows is growing rapidly as retailers and manufacturers are struggling to fulfil delivery times due to warehousing restrictions. This is because some locations are not being deemed a key provider during the pandemic.

What does all this mean for us? Well at Eynesbury Warehousing, we are remaining fully operational and have been deemed an essential business during the pandemic. We are still providing storage for companies, protecting their property, equipment, vehicles, and products to provide long and short term storage solutions.

If you need any assistance with your warehousing needs during this pandemic then please feel free to reach out to us! A member of our friendly team would be happy to help and find a solution to meet your needs.

Challenging Times for Warehousing Post Lockdown

As the UK enters a new normal, the post lockdown economy is on shaky ground.  The true strength will not be revealed until the furlough scheme finishes, but we are likely to enter one of the biggest recessions on record, with mass unemployment across most sectors.

Whilst uncertainty looms large, there is still demand for work. Challenges will be overcome as we strive to build up the economy to its pre-COVID state.

For warehousing, the challenges are ever present; there will be several areas that need attention in order to keep your facility running smoothly. To be ready to weather any storm, addressing the challenges (both present and future) is key to success.

The highs and lows of demand

With unemployment on the rise and the country entering recession, sales across all sectors will be affected; some positive, some negative. Be ready for every eventuality and assign your warehouse resources accordingly.  During the low periods, catch up on other less important tasks. You may need to shorten or lengthen your staff’s shifts depending on each peak and trough.

Following new regulations

Compliance with rules on social distancing, health and safety, and PPE needs to be followed to the letter.  These are new legal requirements, so it is down to you to meet every one of them.  Of course, you will need to adjust your usual work practices to cope, but productivity will be effective and efficient once you put them into place.

To Hire or Fire?

The economy will recover. It might be difficult at times; where you may not be as busy now, months down the line could be a different story. The biggest challenge is knowing how to deal with your staffing levels against activity in your warehouse. Increased activity will mean you may need to take on extra manpower. However decreased activity could see you reducing your workforce.

Experience

If you’ve had to let employees go, you may find your team lacking in experience, particularly if you’re over the worst and are thinking of recruiting new staff.  Make sure any staff you take on are fully trained; this could be the perfect time to implement new resources and processes, making output in your facility better than ever.

 

How to run an effective and organised warehouse in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire

Warehousing plays a key role in the supply chain, keeping businesses running efficiently in order to stay ahead of supply and demand.  So what can make your warehouse stand out above others? How can you run an effective and organised warehouse?

There are a number of factors to consider and whilst location used to be key, warehouse space is currently at a premium during the Coronavirus pandemic. More and more businesses are looking further afield to urban storage locations as they grow their online retailing operations.

Maintenance

Fundamental in any warehouse environment is cleanliness.  Keep the place clean and maintained.  Dirt, damp, and mess will most definitely put any potential client off storing their merchandise with you.  Follow all Health and Safety protocols and maintain all machinery and lifting equipment.

Organisation

Your floor plan or layout will directly affect the efficiency of your warehouse and how it works.  Create a practical floor plan, maximise your space, and organise it with decisive signage and labelling.

Security

Customers will always be conscious of the security of their merchandise.  If your security is robust, and your clients trust your security measures, they are more likely to increase the volume of stock held at your facility.

Safety

An organised warehouse is a safe warehouse. A safer working environment will increase productivity and accident risk is decreased.

Provide options

Commercial storage solutions are becoming more sought after, so it is important to offer different services within your warehouse.  Palletised stock storage should be provided on a long or short term basis whilst catering for small businesses with a self-storage option.

If you have good transport links, full RH&D (receipt, handling, and despatch) should be implemented offering computerised stock control to maintain efficient stock retrieval and dispatch.

 

For information about all of our Warehouse solutions, click here.

Is Flexible Warehousing on the Rise?

Warehousing is the foundation of the supply chain, and with the current coronavirus pandemic ripping through the economy as well as the planet, that supply chain has been well and truly disrupted.  Companies have had to adapt to a new way of working and many are looking for a more ‘flexible’ logistics solution, starting with warehousing.

The answer to many companies’ nightmares has been to use the concept of utilising a third party’s warehousing facilities ‘on demand’; flexible warehousing.  This gives them the option to pay for required storage capacity only when it is needed.  Services can range from spare space in an area of a warehouse, to a fully serviced solution, including transport and logistics.

The average length of an industrial warehousing lease is around 7 years, so flexible warehousing is a lifeline to many companies, particularly through uncertain times such as these.  This of course can cut out the middleman with supply to the consumer being transported direct from the third party warehouse.  As many companies are reluctant to invest long term in warehousing facilities, flexibility is key.

During the pandemic, online retailing has skyrocketed.  This has exacerbated the need for more urban storage solutions, closer to urban locations.  Many different sectors are in direct competition for land nearer to large cities, so countryside storage seems to be the way forward, at least for the time being.

Temporary or flexible solutions are not altogether a new concept; with the rise of flash sales, and in particular, Black Friday deals, retailers have found new ways to cope with storage of fast moving stock.  If they were to utilise their own spaces, they would be left with empty shelves for a lot of the year, and only at full capacity during peak sale periods.  This is obviously a false economy, and the reason flexible warehousing is becoming a more attractive proposition.

For new businesses unable to predict their sales, and more established firms wishing to expand, this seems like the ideal short term solution.  And as warehouse space is advertised more frequently online, the growth in demand and awareness is rapid.  Flexible warehousing could be set to be the norm in the months and years ahead.

 

You can find information about our warehousing services here.

Will the COVID-19 Situation Leave Warehousing Space in Short Supply?

The UK warehouse industry could soon be squeezed for room. The backlog of goods from abroad set to reach stores throughout the country are piling up as shops stay closed during the period of lockdown.

The UK Warehousing Association had launched an ‘emergency space register’ so that freight companies with warehouses can respond to the crisis to optimise the use of available space.  Off-dock options are also being investigated in order to house goods coming in from abroad that stores have no capacity for.

At present there is no evidence that storage space has run out at ports, but by utilising DIY outlets this could ease the pressure, ensuring that cargo can keep moving.

This should all mean relatively good news for warehouse facilities, as a full warehouse means operators are making plenty of cash. Aren’t they?  Apparently not; the vast majority of warehouses make their money from moving and managing stock so when warehouses become full, they just function as storage facilities alone.

The impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on the manufacturing and retail sectors has meant that warehousing is running at higher levels than ever before with little movement in distribution. Yet inbound supply (especially non-food merchandise) continues to arrive in UK ports.  And whilst nobody knows how long the current lockdown rules will last, or indeed, the long term impact from them, off-dock storage could soon be a real possibility.

What we do know is that the logistics and warehousing industries will be key in helping the economy recover when lockdown restrictions are lifted and life begins to return to normal, whatever ‘normal’ will be in the future.

 

You can find more information about our Warehouse services here.

What the Coronavirus Pandemic Means for Warehousing

Like so many other jobs, much of the work involved in the Warehouse industry is not something that can be done from home.  Government rules state that if you must go to work then you should practice social distancing, making sure you stand at least 2 metres apart from any other person.

But is it practical to assume that workers can maintain that kind of social distance in busier, thriving warehouse operations?

One such case is that of an Amazon fulfilment centre in New York, where workers have taken strike action against the online giant. They say that they’re expected to work from premises that has had reports of multiple employees testing positive for Coronavirus.  They feel it’s not fair to be expected to carry on working amid the pandemic without the facility having been sanitized, and correct safety clothing and equipment issued.  Some reports even allege that gloves are being rationed!

Separately, Amazon has come under fire from third party sellers who have had orders of non-essential items blocked, due to overwhelming demand for household essentials during the pandemic.  The decision to restrict warehouse stock to household essentials leaves third party sellers in a fix, as they can still receive orders only to have Amazon halt shipment.

For some sectors, business has never been busier.  The demand for consumable products during March has seen an upturn of over 20%. Production has been stepped up to cope with the demand and warehouse space is at a premium whilst stock is stored waiting to be shipped.

Britain’s clothing and houseware retailers have pinned their hopes on digital sales in the wake of the government’s order to close all non-essential stores.  Revenue generated from online sales could be the only hope of saving them from permanent closure.  This puts extra pressure on warehouse and distribution staff at a time when many employees are having to stay at home to isolate.  And if those website clicks don’t convert into sales, then many manufacturers and retailers will have stock piling situations, where they might have to rethink their business model in order to move existing stock.

In essence, a whole season has been lost; young people are switching from buying outfits to digital subscriptions, so the long term prognosis may not be fully known until retail restrictions are lifted.

 

For more information on our warehousing services, click here.

Forklift Tips to Keep your Warehouse Safe

Forklift trucks are extremely useful pieces of equipment used to lift and move materials, enhance productivity and reduce manual labour particularly in warehouse and factory situations.  They can also be very dangerous if misused, resulting in serious injury.  Thousands of injuries are caused every year by the use of forklifts, sometimes by untrained operatives or faulty equipment.  Of course accidents can happen even when all procedures are followed, but there are measures that can be taken to minimise the risks of those misfortunes.

Below are some tips to help you keep your staff and premises as safe as possible.

Training

You have a legal obligation to ensure that anybody in your organisation who operates a forklift truck is fully trained.  Fork lift training can be provided by in house trainers, or external training providers to the standards outlined in the L117 Approved Code of Practice.  This will ensure that they are fully assessed and competent to legally operate a forklift, ensuring they can keep themselves, their colleagues and any visitors to your warehouse safe.

 

Provide Safety Work Wear/Protective Clothing

Your operatives should be supplied with safety clothing to protect them during working hours.  Hard hats should be worn at all times and are a must.  To protect feet, capped shoes should be supplied – a trapped foot under something heavy could be disabling without them.  Hi-vis jackets should be issued to everyone who visits your site, not just your forklift operative.  Loose fitting clothing should be discouraged as it could be easily trapped in machinery.

 

Schedule regular safety inspections

It’s really important that your machinery is serviced regularly to keep it in good working order, but as with driving a car, the responsibility to carry out simple checks before every journey falls with the operator.  Before every use checks should be made to the brakes, steering and tyres.  If further faults are uncovered, they can be recorded and scheduled for repair.  The vehicle should be taken out of action until all faults are repaired by a trained and qualified mechanic or engineer.

 

Safe loading practice

One of the biggest causes of accidents with forklifts is unbalanced/unsafe loads.  If the load is not secure or is too heavy or high, the vehicle can tip.  There are some simple rules to follow when picking a load:

  • Load materials tilting slightly backwards towards the vehicle.
  • Loads should be safely stacked and spread as evenly as possible across the forks.
  • Check for obstacles in all directions (including up) before stacking.
  • Use secure bindings or straps to secure loads
  • Do not exceed the maximum load capacity.
  • Check the load before moving off.
  • The forks should be low down when the vehicle is moving.
  • Ensure you can see above the load and that you have clear visibility before moving off.

 

Avoiding Hazards

It’s important that you know the area in which you operate a forklift.  Any lumps or bumps in the road can also cause the vehicle to tip.

  • Stick to a 10mph speed limit.
  • Check for low ceilings, doorways or other restrictions to your destination.
  • Avoid ramp edges.
  • Slow down for corners.
  • Use your horn to warn pedestrians in your vicinity.
  • Know your stopping distance.
  • When using ramps, move forwards in an uphill direction and backwards downhill.

Top Tips to Enhance Warehouse Productivity

Warehouse management isn’t any easy task; the vast space and product and storage layout is a juggling act, as every inch of space is valuable.  Getting it right is imperative.  Constantly implementing ways to optimise processes to improve the effectiveness of operations is a perpetual job and one that is on the top of any warehouse manager’s list.  Productivity needs to be at its optimum in order for warehouse operations to function at their best.

Here are some tips to help increase or improve the logistics within your warehouse.

  • Plan your layout effectively

The efficiency of your warehouse will be directly affected by the layout.  Inventory should be arranged on how often you need to use it.  For example, frequently used items should be kept closer to the loading bay, and those used less frequently can be stored nearer the back.  When your layout is organised, make sure it is maintained; things can become disorganised very quickly, and you’ll have health and safety issues to consider if there are hazards where there shouldn’t be.

  • Maintenance

Machine and equipment failure is inevitable from time to time; it’s how you deal with the breakdowns that’s important.  By ensuring your machines are all well maintained and serviced regularly, breakdowns are less likely to happen.  They say prevention is better than cure, so schedule in those services regularly, then any trouble can hopefully be spotted before it happens and becomes too serious.

  • Train your staff

Staff training is essential, particularly where health and safety is concerned.  Warehouses can be dangerous places with the amount of stock they hold, and at different height levels.  In order for your warehouse to function as it should, staff should also be encouraged to communicate effectively, and all of your procedures followed.  With technology ever changing, training should be ongoing so that each staff member is continually updated and qualified to use equipment and knows warehouse procedures.

  • Know your stock

Where would your clients be if you couldn’t locate their stock?  They’d be at another warehouse facility before you knew it!  It’s crucial to keep track of your stock and its location.  Be careful not to overstock as you could end up with too much of a certain product, and too little could see your potential clients turn to one of your competitors.  Provide your clients with a guarantee that your warehouse is clean and dry, and that any stock stored there is safe and secure.

  • Move with the times

Technology moves along relatively quickly.  As soon as you invest in new tech, the developers are already working on upgrades!  Try and stay as current as possible by adopting software solutions to make you warehouse operations run more seamlessly.  If your stock is barcoded, use automatic identification methods; this will slash the amount of time spent trying to locate and identify particular stock.  Investing in new software is becoming more and more cost effective as time goes on, even as it becomes more sophisticated.