Warehouse logistics: definition, tasks and processes

High-bay warehouses dozens of meters high, autonomously operating robots and electrified forklifts: modern warehouses seem like their own artificial city. Warehouse logistics is concerned with storing goods as efficiently as possible. What exactly warehouse logistics is, what goals it pursues and what challenges it faces, we reveal here.  

Table of Contents:

  1. What is warehouse logistics? Simply explained
  1. Warehouse logistics tasks
  1. Challenges in warehouse logistics
  1. Optimize warehouse logistics: Processes and automation
  1. The bearing types at a glance
  1. Simplify collaboration in warehouse logistics with TradeLink

What is warehouse logistics? Simply explained

Warehouse logistics is part of a company's logistics and deals with all tasks from incoming goods to outbound. It defines the processes of how new goods are received in a Sites , transported to their place, stored there and finally prepared for further transport. Digitalization in particular has enabled major changes within warehouse logistics in recent years, such as simplified monitoring of goods, automatic assignment of their storage locations or even transport within the warehouse with the help of robots.  

Dealing with well thought-out warehouse logistics makes sense for any company that needs to store its own or third-party goods. Efficient processes are a prerequisite for maintaining the stability of supply chains.

Objectives of warehousing summarized

Smart warehouse logistics helps companies achieve several goals at once. While the actual delivery of goods is not part of warehouse logistics, it is nevertheless dependent on it, which is why the goals are directly linked.

  • Reduce delivery times: Once an order has been received, it must be possible to remove the goods from their storage location and prepare them for shipment in the shortest possible time in order to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction.
  • Increase delivery reliability: For the customer, the punctuality of incoming goods is particularly crucial; this applies to end customers and especially to companies that need to continue working with the goods.
  • Increase delivery quality: Not only does the time of delivery matter, but so does the quality of the delivery - such as the type, quantity and condition of the goods.
  • Increase delivery flexibility: Delivery flexibility describes the ability to respond to individual customer requirements with customized solutions - e.g. with regard to quantities of goods, delivery times or transport variants.
  • Optimize the cost-benefit ratio: The aim is to keep the costs of storage as low as possible and the benefits high. The aim is to tie up storage space for as short a time as possible at a time and to ensure a high throughput of goods. The long-term commitment of storage space for certain products can lead to the need for a larger storage area and thus to higher costs.

A prerequisite for achieving the goals and general process optimization within warehouse logistics is the transparency of all processes. Only if all parties involved in inbound, in the storage itself and in outbound know the status of a delivery, short delivery times, high delivery reliability and a good cost-benefit ratio can be achieved. Only collaboration and communication along the supply chain enable value-creating transparency from which all parties benefit.  

Well thought-out warehouse logistics increase the efficiency and stability of the supply chain

Warehouse logistics tasks

Warehouse logistics comprises various tasks that help the company to achieve these goals. The focus is on implementing efficient processes along the value chain. What steps are taken when new goods arrive at Sites ? How can goods be transported from there to their intended shelf location as quickly and with as little effort as possible - and how can it be determined in the first place which location in Sites is the ideal one for them? It's just as important to optimize the processes that take place when goods leave Sites again.

A major task area of warehouse logistics deals with the design of the warehouse. How must a Sites be structured in order to meet the company's requirements in the long term? The question is first of all preceded by a detailed analysis in which the current needs of the company are determined on the one hand and the future development is anticipated on the other. In this context, a Sites does not have to directly have more parking spaces than are needed today, but it should offer the possibility that it can meet future growth through expansion.

Setting up the warehouse creates the basis for efficient processes in day-to-day business. Other tasks include materials management, picking, warehouse management and ensuring on-site security.  

Challenges in warehouse logistics

Careful planning, intelligent processes and highly trained employees enable logistics to run efficiently and smoothly within a warehouse. Even today, the major challenges in warehouse logistics lie less in the warehouse than in the interaction with everything that happens outside it.  

For example, it is essential for efficient processes at inbound to know exactly when a truck arrives with a delivery - and what goods it is actually bringing. However, the constant exchange of information by e-mail, telephone or Excel spreadsheets is anything but efficient. Pre-announced arrival times are often not adhered to and thus tie up capacity - truck parking spaces are kept free, employees are on standby and ultimately cannot be deployed elsewhere. This in turn causes indirect costs.

Added to this are challenges such as the shortage of skilled workers and truck drivers, drastic short-term increases in the turnover of goods, or the lack of balance between orders and capacities at Sites, in order to handle them.

Highly trained specialists support the smooth logistics process

Optimize warehouse logistics: Processes and automation

Digitalization and the associated automation can help optimize processes in warehouse logistics and meet their challenges. Modern digital tools can already be used to intelligently control processes within a warehouse. They are designed to simplify efficient work for the specialists on site, enable a high turnover of goods and create transparency in the processes. But digitization can create even more: simplify communication with third parties.

Digitization of logistics to enable efficient working

With TradeLink, we have developed a cloud platform that simplifies delivery coordination around your Sites by creating transparency for all parties involved in one central location and enabling true collaboration - without e-mails, telephone and Excel spreadsheets. This way, suppliers know in real time whether their goods have already arrived, site logistics know when which goods will arrive, or sales know when their customer can pick up the goods.

New inspiration for warehouse logistics: trade fairs and trends

Like many other industries, logistics and warehouse logistics are constantly changing, especially today. If you want to keep up with the competition or even stay one step ahead of it, you have to keep up to date with the latest developments and exchange information. Trade fairs such as transport logistic, LogiMAT or the Logistics Summit invite you to learn about new technologies and solutions and to follow trends.

The bearing types at a glance

Depending on the main function of a bearing, a distinction is made between different types of bearings, each of which has different advantages and disadvantages and pursues different objectives.

Inbound warehouses: Inbound or procurement warehouses are located upstream of production in the value chain and serve to provide materials for this very production.  

Interim storage: As the name suggests, interim storage facilities are always just the link between two other links in the value chain. Goods are temporarily stored here to be eventually transported on to the next station. Or, as transshipment warehouses, they serve to transfer goods from one means of transport to another.

Distribution warehouse: After production, goods await delivery in the distribution warehouse. When a customer places an order, the goods are picked and prepared for shipment.  

The exact orientation of the respective warehouse depends on its task in the value creation process and is individually oriented to the needs of the company and the stakeholders involved. The main function of the warehouse determines its structure as well as all processes taking place in it for smooth and efficient warehouse logistics.  

Simplify collaboration in warehouse logistics with TradeLink

Decisive for the optimal use of warehouse functions is the cooperation of all process participants - from suppliers to site logistics, purchasing, sales, freight forwarders, logistics service providers and suppliers. With TradeLink, we have developed a cloud solution that bundles and automates communication between them on one platform. It creates full transparency for all sides.

Better business results through transparency and proactive logistics

For you, this means: We increase the productivity of your logistics, create reliability in incoming and outgoing goods for your company and enable you to make the transition to proactive logistics. With TradeLink, companies replace e-mails, telephone and Excel lists in warehouse logistics, reduce truck idle times and coordination efforts and increase warehouse performance - all without complicated implementation in your IT.

We believe that better collaboration leads to better business results - and transparency creates the foundation for that. With TradeLink, you take the wheel back into your own hands.  

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