Department of Industrial Engineering


Introduction On Warehousing Issues

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  • Receiving
  • RFID Technology
  • Operations Scheduling
  • Put Away unit-load
  • Put Away less-than-unit-load
  • Inventory Management
  • Storage Allocation
  • Storage Assignment
  • Slotting
  • Picker Routing
  • Order Batching
  • Visiting strategies
  • Operations Scheduling

“Warehousing is one of the most important and critical logistic activities in industrial and service systems. A few production philosophies, e.g. just in time (JIT) and lean manufacturing, propose and support the so-called ‘‘zero stock’’ as basic and strategic pillar. Also manufacturing requirement planning (MRP), the well known and widely adopted ‘‘push-’’ based fulfillment technique, theoretically guarantees no storage quantities when the ‘‘lot for lot’’ reorder policy is adopted. Nevertheless, these special production systems do not operate in absence of warehousing systems that support and smooth the discontinuity of flow materials, products and components, at the input and at the bottom of a generic production stage.

Warehousing activities and storage systems are necessary! This is true in many industrial and not industrial sectors: from automotive to tile industry passing from food industry, health care production systems, service sectors (e.g. banks, universities, hospitals), etc. Obviously, warehousing is the core activity of logistic providers, usually specialized in distribution activities including storage and transportation issues. In special sectors, like the food industry and the health care supply chains, warehousing means storage systems in critical operating conditions, e.g. controlled temperature and/or humidity levels, by the management of fresh and perishable products.

The storage systems significantly affect the level of quality of products, the customer’s service level, and the global logistic cost. Just an example: the food industry. Warehousing and transportation issues significantly affect the level of quality of foodstuffs at the consumer’s location, especially when production plants and final points of demand (consumers’ locations) are far away and frequently located in different countries (e.g. wine produced in Italy and used in Taiwan), and the distribution system is very complex including many actors, e.g. distribution centers, wholesalers, dealers, etc.

The mission of warehousing is the same of the discipline ‘‘logistics’’: to effectively ship products in the right place, at the right time, and in the right quantity (i.e. in any configuration) without any damages or alterations. Important keywords in warehousing and storage systems are: safety, quality, availability, cost saving, customer service level, traceability, picking, automation, fulfillment, travel time, etc. […]

The generic warehouse plays a critical role in supporting the success of a global supply chain especially in presence of many products, many facilities (eventually located in a wide geographical area, e.g. worldwide), many decision makers and actors [e.g. sources, production plants, central distribution systems (CDCs), regional distribution systems (RDCs), wholesalers, dealers, customers, etc.] and limited resources in terms of people, equipment and space.”

From “Warehousing in the Global Supply Chain ”, Foreword. Ed.Manzini Riccardo, Springer-Verlag London 2012.

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“A global supply chain is not just an abstract entity composed of policies, supplier contracts, purchasing agreements, etc. that exist on a computer network or database. Rather, a global supply chain, in order to function properly, is an entity supported by a logistics system that makes it possible to move a variety of goods through the system in a timely and cost-effective manner. When the supply chain is viewed as a network, transportation systems such as trucking, railways and shipping/air lines represent the ‘‘arcs’’ in the network, while the facilities that handle the goods through the network represent the ‘‘nodes.’’ Such facilities include:

  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Warehouses and distribution centers
  • Container terminals (or seaports)
  • Consolidation/deconsolidation centers
  • Rail yards
  • Crossdocks
  • Airports (handling freight)" [...]
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From “Warehousing in the Global Supply Chain ”, Preface by Professor Yavuz A. Bozer - The University of Michigan. Ed.Manzini Riccardo, Springer-Verlag London 2012.

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