For many businesses, the ways in which they manage their warehouse needs may actually be a holdover from a much earlier time. While there is something to be said for sticking with proven methods, it is also important for businesses to reassess their solutions periodically to ensure adequate levels of service. To better understand this point, we’ve compiled the information below pertaining to warehouse solution migration. In addition, we’ve included information from Freight Hub Group, a leading provider of third-party logistics and warehouse solutions. Together, this overview can serve as a jumping-off point for any business considering an update to their warehouse procedures.
Let’s first take a brief look at Freight Hub Group as a company before diving into the specifics of its warehousing information. Doing so will provide added context for its services and give a more complete understanding of the work some of the industry’s leaders are undertaking at this time. That work, much of it centered around the South Florida area, is often related to the Port of Miami and Port Everglades, two major ports of call for shipping companies operating both domestically and internationally. As such, the company is able to provide a full range of drayage, storage, shipping, and other logistics services.
These services are typically handled through one of the company’s subdivisions — Dray Hub, FTL Hub, LTL Hub, and WHSE Hub. The company’s drayage services can accommodate a large number of shipping containers and trailers at its outdoor yard. These services are supported by industrial forklifts and a range of other tools for handling goods of many different types. These same tools also assist the company’s warehouse actions, allowing it to handle oversized cargo and cargo of specialty types, including hazardous materials. Shipping is handled through the company’s FTL and LTL subdivisions, both of which provide a large assortment of services meant to deliver shipments in the manner that best suits client needs.
Planning for change
The first step in making a change to a business’s warehousing solutions is to institute a transition plan. Such a plan should be robust enough to handle unexpected occurrences along the way such as mismatched capacities between an old warehouse and a new warehouse. In order to achieve this, many companies benefit from having some overlap during the transition of their goods from one system to the next. That way, should a new solution be lacking in some manner, the old system can help to pick up the slack until an adequate workaround can be achieved.
This philosophy is also useful when dealing with the IT systems used to manage a company’s warehousing solutions. Data migration from one system to the next can sometimes be a tricky endeavor and it may be prudent to have extensive backups should one portion of the process fail. In the same way that an older physical space can help to supplement services during a transition, so too can an older technology serve as a safety net during a changeover. Keeping an older system running while the bugs can be worked out of a new system can help safeguard against data loss or other catastrophic system failures.
Hierarchy of needs
During a transition, it can also be helpful to implement changes in a stepwise fashion. Making a move all at once can be cumbersome for some organizations that need to offer continued service to customers while the transition is taking place. For this reason, it can be important to make moves in a manner that keeps some portions of the business’s warehouse operations functional at all times. In this way, customer-facing services can be maintained to a degree and progress can be made on the new warehouse implementation simultaneously.
A key part of implementing a transition in such a fashion can be to identify a hierarchy of needs for the changeover. Such an assessment centers around determining which parts of a system are most in need of an update and which parts of a system can be utilized in their current form for a longer period of time. This assessment can center around physical needs, such as a new warehouse space, as well as IT needs, such as updated capacities for a system overhaul. Regardless of what this level of introspection turns up, understanding the needs for a transition can significantly influence how such a transition is carried out.
Testing and training
No matter how a warehouse transition is handled, the changeover of physical space and IT systems is not the end of the process. One important additional step to take is to systematically test the new system to determine if there are any problems or inefficiencies present. Being proactive about this testing can help to turn up any issues in a controlled environment where they can be dealt with quickly and without collateral damage. This is in contrast to a scenario where issues turn up in the course of business operations, where they can have a severe negative impact.
Another important aspect to consider when transitioning to a new warehouse solution is the need to train employees on the new system. Even if a system is without significant flaws, problematic business outcomes can still emerge after a transition if employees are not properly versed in any new changes. Setting aside time in the transition process to train employees can be just as important as debugging insofar as it can help to avoid business catastrophes that can seriously affect a company’s bottom line. Testing can be critical in handling both physical space and IT systems. Building this consideration in as part of the cost of a transition can help insulate against failures in either realm.
While a warehousing solution and fulfillment services may be doing an adequate job of servicing a business’s current needs, there may still be a reason to transition to a new system. Outdated systems can age in a manner that degrades a business’s ability to service customers which can ultimately result in a drain on demand for a business’s services. While switching out a warehouse implementation in the manner touched on above can be a solution to this issue, so too can switching a company’s warehousing over to a third-party logistics provider, such as Freight Hub Group. If your company is operating with legacy warehousing solutions, consider undertaking a transition before too long.