In layman’s terms, a warehouse is a building utilized for storing goods. Commonly known as Godowns in India, warehouses have a lot of other utilities apart from mere goods storage. It caters to the services of a range of personnel like Manufacturers, Importers, Exporters, Wholesalers, medium to large Retailers, Transport Businessmen, Customs Officials, etc.
Construction sites :
Warehouses are generally constructed on the peripheral regions of the cities, towns or villages. They can even be fabricated as buildings within industrial complexes.
Warehouses are provided with a lot of auxiliary units that tend to ease their day to day operations.
- Loading Docks are provided so as to aid in the loading and unloading of goods from connecting transports, for example, trucks.
- Railways, Airports or Seaports and Harbours should always be accessible to the warehouses so that the goods can be directly transported from those places with minimal expenses.
- Cranes and Forklifts are usually allocated to carry and move bulky goods and load them into their assigned, ISO standard pallets.
Warehouses are usually put to use for the storage of an array of goods. These range from :
- Raw materials
- Packing materials
- Spare parts
- Components of bigger machines
- Finished products
- Sophisticated instruments
- Health supplies
- Other miscellaneous products related to agriculture, manufacturing, and production.
Temperature controlled warehouses: the future of warehousing :
There are specific warehouses or storage spaces where the items/products/goods to be stored are perishable. For example, sophisticated instruments, medical supplies, and even pharmaceuticals. Hence the temperature in these warehouses should be attentively controlled and moderated. The sanctity of the warehouses in terms of humidity and temperature should be maintained as variations in these parameters might cause disastrous consequences. Namely :
- Medicines might become ineffective due to adverse temperature conditions
- Vital medical equipment might collapse
- Sophisticated instruments for gauging and measuring might exhibit erratic readings due to temperature and humidity variations.
Methods to ensure temperature consistency in warehouses :
Maintaining temperature consistency is quite effortlessly done when the area under concern is limited in dimensions or small.However, when the goods, materials, products, and other items are transferred to the warehouses, a variety of adversities might spring up, which would result in temperature inconsistency.
Reasons for temperature inconsistencies in warehouses :
- Deviations in temperature is a usual problem which can occur due to the racking or arrangement of shelves. Racking and shelving cause the generation of “hot spots” – spaces that restrict airflow and obstruct air circulation throughout the warehouse.
- Temperatures are higher near the heaters.
- Temperatures are lower when the place is in close proximity to loading bays where the doors are regularly opened and closed for the inflow and outflow of goods.
Introduction of modern technology :
Cutting edge technologies have come into play which has improved the temperature control to a whole new level. These technologies enable the recording, logging, and monitoring of detailed information regarding the parameters like changes in average temperature, within a specific package stored in the warehouse.
This ultra edge technological devices or data loggers as they are commonly called, monitor parameters like – temperature, humidity, and other items in storage or transit.
The maximum and minimum temperatures are also recorded. Any time spent outside of the preset limiting conditions is also taken into account. Temperature ranges include dry, refrigerated, frozen, and air-conditioned options. Warehousing space allocation is done strategically so that the stored and shelved pallets enjoy considerable airflow. The warehousing space management is explicitly done so that the storage materials all enjoy moderate temperature conditions. The modern technology that comes in unison with the monitoring and recording technologies includes the support of all inbound and outbound activity, replenishment activity, lot code tracking, order fulfillment in case, bulk and individually separate quantities, all inventory control, invoicing for storage & handling and a host of activity and inventory reports. Warehousing management systems are responsible for the maintenance of such technology that controls all these arrays of activities.
Importance of packaging :
The packaging which is employed in storing goods and products is of utmost importance in the case of temperature-controlled warehousing.Negative impacts of environmental exploitation: The recent environmental transformations fuelled by global warming and a host of other negative impeding factors that contribute towards overall environmental decay; have propelled the packaging technology to change considerably.The conventional and orthodox packaging methods are gradually becoming obsolete.The packaging revolution has seen the emergence of temperature controlled packaging; using PCMs – Phase Change Materials.
PCMs have the additional benefits of being reused and hence assist in reducing the carbon footprint generated. The companies can, therefore, operate more effectively and cause lesser negative impacts on the environment.
Services provided by temperature-controlled warehousing :
- Stock rotation
- Warehousing of entire packages by deploying pick-up operations and also repackaging
- Average internal temperature is maintained between +2℃ and +8℃
- Microprocessor digital temperature control is present for continuous monitoring
- Forced air cooling can be utilized for maintaining a consistent temperature and occasional recovery from temperature rise
- Temperature deviation signaling is present which denotes any fluctuation or divergence from normal through the use of audio and video alarms
- Refrigeration and insulation systems are free from CFCs so that no negative environmental impact might be felt.
- The warehouses are equipped with a variety of temperature controlled ranges and provide options for cross-docking, short-term storage, longer-term storage, and full order fulfillment services.
In addition to the above-provided facilities, the temperature-controlled warehouses offer expanded services including order fulfillment, pick and pack, cold storage, and reverse logistics. Warehousing services such as labeling, lot control, inventory control, kitting projects, and repack projects are also part of the additional service offerings. Thus temperature-controlled warehousing is the ultimate answer to storing highly temperature and humidity sensitive instruments and medical supplies which will herald the way for a safer, secure and optimized environment for humanity as well as the ecology.