Versions Compared

Key

  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.

Table of Contents
maxLevel2

Common Terms in Warehousing

...

Though many agencies have adopted the regional facility strategy, regional warehouses should not be considered an automatic or default solution. Maintaining a large warehouse - especially one in a remote location not necessarily in the same country as an agencies headquarters – can be quite expensive, and requires additional staffing and time to ensure basic standards are met and the facility properly functions. If an agency is not prepared to commit to paying for multiple years of storage in a remote location, or cannot support the technical oversight or man-hours associated with the proper running of a facility, the agency may choose to completely outsource its regional warehouse management, or forego a regional response warehouse altogether.

Positioning a Regional Warehouse

When deciding on the location of a regional warehouse, the following points should be considered:

...

Any of the above mentioned points can have adverse effects on the ability of a regional warehouse to perform its core functions.

Operations of a Regional / International Warehouse

Regional/international warehouses can be purpose built or purpose designed facilities operated by permanent staff that has been trained in all the areas necessary to run an efficient facility, or stock can be held utilising some version of a third-party logistics provider (3PL) staff and facilities. Ideally, any regional or international warehouse would use computer-based inventory management tools, with software to help in the planning and management of the warehouse. The operating environment of a primary regional or international warehouse used for pre-positioning should typically be relatively stable, and overall attention focused on the efficient and cost-effective warehouse operation. Numerous organisations have centralised pre-positioning facilities strategically located globally. Some of these offer extended services to other humanitarian organisations on a cost-plus operating charges basis, such as the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD) Network.

...

Partner/Common Storage Facilities – Some humanitarian agencies may wish to participate in communal or partner managed common storage options, such as those offered by Logistics Cluster partners in field settings or the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot Network in key and strategic regional locations. Humanitarian agencies may also wish to enter into storage agreements between each other, however this typically requires individual agencies reaching contractual terms on risks and liabilities of each. Partner storage agreements might be extremely useful in the early days of an emergency, when warehouse space is limited or agencies may only have a limited presence of days or weeks at a time.

Types of

...

Warehouse Space

Within the different storage arrangements available to partners, there are different functions that each of these facilities may provide. Some of these functions might include:

...

Actual items obtained from local or international sources may vary in volumes. Understanding the specific storage needs might involve obtaining the volumetric measurements and all special handling needs of all related relief items from either a supplier or a central distribution warehouse.

Irregular and Special Storage

...

As agencies attempt to plan out space need in storage locations, they may encounter bulky or irregular items. In addition to planning generic outside dimensions, space planners should also estimate the fully required volume to adequately store an item, not just the outside dimensions.

...

The ways in which cargo is physically stored in a warehouse can dramatically increase usable storage space, increase efficiency, and impact safety. Generally, there a few main categories through which cargo is physically stored and handled.

Racking:

Shelving

Unlike racks which are used to manage pallet sized loads, shelving used in warehousing is useful for:

  • Small, low quantity, loose items – example: vehicle replacement parts.
  • Items that are dispensed at small quantities – example: medications.
  • High value items – example: computer equipment.

Shelving can easily be constructed in remote field warehouses from local materials, insofar as the local materials can physically support the required stored items. Shelving can also be installed anywhere inside a larger warehouse, however the location should make contextual sense. As an example, shelving may be used as an intermediary stage of order fulfilment; a warehouse may have pallets/large cartons of items small items, but only receive pick orders for low quantities. A reasonable quantity of stock may be moved to pre-defined shelf space to facilitate ease of fulfilling low or item level pick orders. Shelving may require a separated space physically separated from the main warehouse floor; high value items or controlled goods might be better suited stored on shelving in a separate lockable space.

Shelving installations should be ergonomic; shelves should not be so deep that an average height adult cannot reach to the back of the shelf, while shelves should not reach unsafe heights, and if possible, should avoid requiring ladders or stools to reach the top.


Image Added

Loose Stacking / Ground Storage

Ground storage includes anything that is stored on the floor of a warehouse, often compiled in stacks. Items stored on the ground should never be directly in contact with the warehouse floor; cargo should rest on pallets, or if pallets unavailable, tarpaulin. The general configuration of ground floor stacks will vary based on the storage needs, including:

  • The number of different items SKU items that might require accounting
  • The weight of cargo limiting height
  • The physical nature of the cargo; cartons can be evenly stacked, while irregular kits in sacks might be piled like a pyramid

Ground storage of loose items is quite common in humanitarian settings. Most remote field warehouses are usually too small to accommodate special equipment installation, lack the sufficient infrastructure to properly support MHE, or are temporary structures in nature. A substantial portion of humanitarian relief supplies don’t necessarily require advanced handling either. There are several tricks to properly managing stacks of cargo, which are covered in the stock management section of this guide. Humanitarian agencies should resist the urge to use ground handling in all contexts despite its prevalent nature; commodities such as medication may benefit from not being stacked in a pile. Space planers should also resist the urge to fill up all available space when utilising ground storage; warehouses and storage facilities using ground storage and stacking should still observe the 70/30 rule, keeping lanes and aisles open for safety while making room for loading and offloading.

Image Added

Racking

Warehouse racking – sometimes referred to as pallet racking – is a heavy-duty metal superstructure that is specifically designed to hold large, pallet sized items. Each space where a pallet might fit is referred to as a pallet bay, and pallet bays are generally counted as “pallet positions” when counting warehouse space availability. Palletised cargo, bulky items stored on pallets, or oversized cargo of a specific size can be loaded onto pallet racking using a forklift. The bottom bay can usually be loaded with a pallet jack, or may kept open for hand stacking smaller items. Properly utilised racks can dramatically increase the storage capacity of a warehouse, maximising three-dimensional space to the best of its ability.

...

Pallet racking systems should only be installed by professional companies with demonstrated experience. Racking systems also require warehouse floors to be sufficiently thick and strong, as racks will need to be physical bolted to the ground. Racking must be safely operated around and maintained; physical racking structures must not show signs of distress, corrosion or damage. Compromised racking structures can easily collapse causing substantial loss to stored items and serious injury or death. Wherever possible, racks should have some form of physical crash barrier at corners of rows and lanes to prevent damage from handling equipment. Only persons trained and certified to operate a forklift should be engaged in loading and offloading cargo from metal racking structures.

Stacking Frames

...

Related to pallet racks, stacking frames are pre-made metal super structures that are designed to vertically stack cargo. Unlike pallet racks, stacking frames are free-standing, and are highly customisable and modular.

...

If loose cargo is stored in the racks, it should be properly braced, secured, or wrapped. The entire frame can be moved by a forklift, and frames can be easily stacked as high as safely possible to take advantage of vertical space. Unfortunately, stacking frames can only be used in warehouses with smooth and stable floors, and where forklifts can safely operate. Many larger facilities use stacking frames to augment racking and shelving, especially for irregular shaped items that cannot be easily stacked otherwise.

Shelving:

Unlike racks which are used to manage pallet sized loads, shelving used in warehousing is useful for:

  • Small, low quantity, loose items – example: vehicle replacement parts.
  • Items that are dispensed at small quantities – example: medications.
  • High value items – example: computer equipment.

Shelving can easily be constructed in remote field warehouses from local materials, insofar as the local materials can physically support the required stored items. Shelving can also be installed anywhere inside a larger warehouse, however the location should make contextual sense. As an example, shelving may be used as an intermediary stage of order fulfilment; a warehouse may have pallets/large cartons of items small items, but only receive pick orders for low quantities. A reasonable quantity of stock may be moved to pre-defined shelf space to facilitate ease of fulfilling low or item level pick orders. Shelving may require a separated space physically separated from the main warehouse floor; high value items or controlled goods might be better suited stored on shelving in a separate lockable space.

Shelving installations should be ergonomic; shelves should not be so deep that an average height adult cannot reach to the back of the shelf, while shelves should not reach unsafe heights, and if possible, should avoid requiring ladders or stools to reach the top.

Image Removed

Loose Stacking / Ground storage:

Ground storage includes anything that is stored on the floor of a warehouse, often compiled in stacks. Items stored on the ground should never be directly in contact with the warehouse floor; cargo should rest on pallets, or if pallets unavailable, tarpaulin. The general configuration of ground floor stacks will vary based on the storage needs, including:

  • The number of different items SKU items that might require accounting
  • The weight of cargo limiting height
  • The physical nature of the cargo; cartons can be evenly stacked, while irregular kits in sacks might be piled like a pyramid

Ground storage of loose items is quite common in humanitarian settings. Most remote field warehouses are usually too small to accommodate special equipment installation, lack the sufficient infrastructure to properly support MHE, or are temporary structures in nature. A substantial portion of humanitarian relief supplies don’t necessarily require advanced handling either. There are several tricks to properly managing stacks of cargo, which are covered in the stock management section of this guide. Humanitarian agencies should resist the urge to use ground handling in all contexts despite its prevalent nature; commodities such as medication may benefit from not being stacked in a pile. Space planers should also resist the urge to fill up all available space when utilising ground storage; warehouses and storage facilities using ground storage and stacking should still observe the 70/30 rule, keeping lanes and aisles open for safety while making room for loading and offloading.

Image Removed

Pallets

Pallets have become ubiquitous across transport and warehousing operations globally, however there is a wide variety of sizes, dimensions and physical construction of pallets.  Though local warehouse managers may have very little control over the types of pallets that might arrive, an understanding of pallet differences can assist with both space planning, and safe utilisation of racking and MHE.

...

  • Weighing Scales
  • Measuring equipment – tape measure or yard stick
  • Sturdy ladders and step stools
  • Rope, twine, plastic binding, and sturdy wire
  • Packaging tape and duct tape
  • (if required) Plastic pallet wrap
  • Cleaning supplies – broom, bucket, mop
  • Face masks and gloves
  • Ear and eye protection
  • High-visibility vests
  • Heavy-duty pens
  • Note pads and writing materials
  • Safety knife and scissors
  • (if required) Industrial fans
  • Chairs and folding table

...

Once a facility has been fully selected and is operations begin, agencies will need to continue to maintain, or ensure that the third-party associated with running the facility maintains the physical structure, supporting equipment, and immediate grounds around the facility.

Site Grounds

...

The grounds around any storage facility should be kept open and free from objects as much as possible; debris, rubble, trash and weeds should be cleared out to avoid damage to vehicles and structures. Exposed wires or pipes should be properly buried or sealed; pipes or electrical equipment that cannot be buried should be well marked, painted red and/or have a secure or caged structure built around them. Drainage ditches should be clean and in working order at all times. Clogged or blocked drainage must be fixed to prevent flooding, and inadequate drainage must be dug if not already available.

Trucks must be able to enter, park, load/offload and depart the facility without difficulty, and ideally, more than one truck should be able to perform work at the same time. There should be adequate room for trucks to turn around in the allocated parking area; even if space is available, equipment or piles of scraps may hinder movement, possibly leading to delays or accidents. The grounds around truck parking and turning areas may need to be graded, paved or gravel/loam laid down to even the surface. An unimproved truck parking and turning space may lead to large grooves or divots in the ground, causing water to pool, mud to form, and vehicles becoming stuck or even damaging their undercarriages. Depending on weather patterns, truck turning and loading/offloading spaces may require continual maintenance seasonally or throughout the year.

Physical Structures

...

For storage locations of all sizes, there are a number of considerations to be had.

...

  • If ambient lighting isn’t sufficient for daytime usage, agencies should consider installing additional lights for daytime use.
  • Light should be sufficient for operating at night time. Larger facilities may need extensive lighting installations.

Vector Management

...

Vectors are defined as rodents, insects, or anything that may spoil or damage stock on hand. Proactive vector control is important; rats and insects don’t just impact food – they can also damage anything woven from organic material such as blankets or clothing, and can completely destroy stocks of medical grade consumables. An untreated infestation of can lead to large problems down the road, any identified infestation or pest must be dealt with immediately. Warehouses will need enact some form vector control depending on the nature of the stock, including:

...

Stored cargo must always be separated from the ground, using pallets, tarpaulin, shelving, or racking. Warehouse managers should be constantly motoring the status and condition of stock on hand. All handling units should appear in good condition, and be free from avoidable damage of any kind, including water damage, punctures or rusting. If cartons or items appear to be crushed, punctured or experiencing damage from regular wear and tear, they must be separated, repaired (if possible), and returned to inventory in a manner that prevents future damage.

Stock Counts

...

There are a variety of methods for conducting physical inventories. Agencies should review different inventory methods, and set up guidelines and time intervals for conducting inventories, including ad-hoc and regularly scheduled annual inventories. 

Damaged Items

...

Throughout the course of managing physical stock, damaged items will be discovered, either as a result of age, expiration, mishandling, or even from items that were defective in the first place. As damage items are discovered, they must be clearly marked and addressed. Some damaged items can be repaired, especially if damage is only to outer packing. An item that is ultimately still usable, but has damaged outer packing can be repacked into new cartons/bags where available, the packaging itself can be taped or sealed. Even if there are no replacement cartons/bags available, the usable items can be stored loose on the racks/shelf/stack and be marked for usage first during the next pick order.

...

Damaged items may need to be returned to a vendor, handed over to third party authorities, or be disposed of. 

Disposition

...

As warehouses continue throughout their operations, they will inevitably need to dispose of damaged, expired, or no longer required goods. Disposition of any item must be done in an ethical, environmentally friendly and legal manner, all in compliance with the internal policies of the organisation managing the facility. Options for disposition:

...

Cargo stored on the ground or in stacks should always be clearly demarcated. A stock card should physically accompany every stored SKU item, and warehouse managers should be able to quickly identify and pick orders without having to sort through piles of non-related items.

Cartons/Bales/Sacks

...

Wherever possible, stacked cargo should be stored in as uniform manner as possible for quick counting and identification. To facilitate this, warehouse managers must:

...

Stacked items should not be slumping or falling over. Crushed or damaged units at the bottom of stacks should be addressed immediately; crushed items should be moved to the top of the stack, and if possible/necessary, reduce the height of the stack to prevent further damage.

Cylindrical Items

...

Ground storage of cylindrical items must be done in way to prevent items from rolling or falling. Ideally, items like tires and metal drums should be stored with their flat surfaces facing downward on a pallet or tarp. In some cases, cylindrical items may not be able to be safely stacked on their flat surfaces due to height restrictions, weight concerns, or the overall dimensions of the item – in which case guard barriers can be built outside the pallet or floor storage to keep the items in one place. Any guard barrier should be strong enough to contain the weight of the combined items.

Cylinders Stored UprightCylinders Braced/Stored on Side

Timber/Lumber

...

Loose timber and lumber are commonly stored throughout the humanitarian sector. Timber should:

...

Lumber Stored in BundleLumber Layer Stacked


Double Stacking Pallets

...

Double stacked pallets are defined by one or more pallets placed on top of each other without the additional layer of a pallet rack or support structure. Double stacking is fairly common in transport, but should be avoided for any form of medium to long term storage in warehouses. A double stacked pallet can easily fall over and injure warehouse workers if any part of the bottom pallet is compromised, often without warning. A collapsed double stacked pallet can also easily destroy the contents of one or both of the individual pallets. With the inconsistent flows and constant changes of a humanitarian supply model, a double stacked pallet may end up being stored for much longer than originally planned, and managers may forget or simply not realise the dangers of double stacking.

...

Pallet Rack Safely in Use

Shelving

Warehoused items stored on shelving offers the quickest and most organised access to the lowest inventory unit. Where as ground stacking or pallet racking are meant for large scale storage of high volumes of items, shelving should be treated as a sorting point for individual items, much like items stored on the shelf a local store.

...