There are times when a company's traditional warehouse space cannot handle the amount of inventory needed for operations. Businesses have events or occasions that don't call for permanent changes in infrastructure need a location to store excess stock to prepare for the next step in the supply chain. In these circumstances, the organization usually uses a field warehouse.
According to wiseGEEK, a general information resource, manufacturers may establish field warehouses to amass finished goods for a large future order. Companies may also use temporary facilities to prepare inventory for a clearance sale or to hold items during emergencies like natural disasters.
Field warehouses can sometimes be makeshift solutions, in other instances they are a planned seasonal strategy. The inventory kept in temporary locations is just as vital to business success as the items stored in a more permanent warehouse. Companies should use strategies and tools that make field warehouses an active part of the business infrastructure.
Strategies for field warehouse layout
There are many types of locations companies use as field warehouses. Logistics Cluster said businesses may utilize rented spaces, company buildings not normally used for warehouse operations or even outdoor tents.
Multiple problems could arise when companies deal with facilities that weren't designed for inventory storage and preparation. Field warehouses can sometimes be hasty solutions and companies tend to get careless. Inventory may be lost or miscounted in buildings that don't facilitate easy picking paths and visible storage locations. Makeshift locations probably don't have computers onsite ready to handle inventory data procedures.
Mobile warehouse inventory management devices can help turn any structure into a functional link in the supply chain. Handheld computing devices allow employees and managers to use inventory software in any location. Tools that use barcode labels help maintain data visibility of products and time tracking technology can report overall field warehouse performance schedules to supervisors.
If a company decides to use a rented warehouse space, managers must implement the rental fees into daily operating costs. A unified software solution allows supervisors to compare all resource allocation over certain time frames.
Training field warehouse employees
Employees who work a field warehouse operation are critical to its success. Many temporary inventory strategies, however, may call for individuals with no warehouse experience to handle distribution processes.
Field warehouses often hire temporary employees to handle duties. In dire situations, a company may allocate workers from other departments for inventory tasks. For example, after a fire or other facility-damaging event, many employees may pitch in to get operations back on track. Companies must ensure every worker who moves a product reports their actions to the central system.
Mobile tools like the NAV barcoding devices allow for easy inventory management. Any employee can capture data with the click of button. It's simple to train employees on the use of barcoding tools, so the devices are perfect for field warehouses opened in emergency situations. If the temporary inventory solution is more predictable, managers can program mobile software with special datasets for seasonal events.
Managers who are interested in mobile solutions to all warehouse operations can download the "Keeping the Physical World and the Virtual World in Sync" white paper.