Warehousing is the act of using a storage facility to store large amounts of goods. They are used by manufacturers, wholesalers, freight distributors, exporters, importers and customers. They are usually large buildings located in large cities, towns, sea-shores, and villages. They have docking yards used to load and unload goods. They also have different machines ranging from cranes and forklifts, used to load and unload cargo from trains, Lorries and even ships. These goods include raw materials, building materials, spare parts, components, and finished goods. They range from agricultural goods, manufacturing, and production goods.
There are different types of traditional warehouses according to their usage. A brief look at these functions will help to shed some light on how they are used by business owners and customers alike. Below is a list of the most notable types according to functions.
1. Display of goods for sale-
Actively involved in displaying goods for home trade. These goods include clothing and other fashionable merchandise. However it only deals with finished goods.
2. Overseas warehouses-
Cater to overseas trades. This is the meeting place for different nationalities to come together and conduct business, and mostly deals with clothing, and other finished goods.
3. Railway warehousing-
Usually built opposite the passenger terminal, and are used to store goods to be transported to various parts of the country using major railway station hubs.
4. Canal warehousing-
Built along major canals, they majorly deal with goods ready for trans-shipment.
5. Packing warehouses-
Mainly used for picking, packing, labeling, and checking merchandise. They provided provisions for easy access to merchandise.
Due to advancements in technology, most of the traditional warehousing facilities were fazed out, by the gradual introduction of the just in time system-JIT. This system advocated for direct delivery of goods from the manufacturer to the consumer without using warehouses. However with the advancement of offshore out sourcing at almost the same time period with JIT, it became prudent to at least have one warehouse per region or country. This was due to the fact that distance increased from the manufacturer to the consumer.
There are those facilities that are commonly referred to as cold storage or cool warehouses. These facilities help preserve perishable goods as they await transportation or shipment to various regions. Edible goods are usually stored to a maximum period of one year. Cold storage helps to eliminate rotting and destruction by insects. They also help to stabilize prices. Since goods are stored to reduce excessive supply leading to reduction in market prices. Some goods require temperatures of up to -25 degrees Celsius to be preserved. Ammonia and Freon compressors are used for this purpose.
Even Internet stores do not require physical retail stores, but still require warehousing for the storage of their goods. They fill many orders for consumers rather than filling large store orders. Having different warehouses may be very costly, but it is good for a company to have a large warehouse located centrally and strategically per continent.