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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

Space Constraints in a 3PLP FMCG/Pharma Warehouse

Posted by Dave Jordan on Tue, Jul 24, 2012

Possibly the most jaw-dropping and least welcome question I will ever hear. A question that brings me to the depths of despair certainly, rapidly and without warning. A question that is worse than being asked to appear on Big Brother – well almost.

Packed 3PLP Warehouse resized 600I will usually have spent hours packing and repacking stuff into the biggest Samsonite allowed in the hold. Folding, cramming and persuading all those absolutely necessary clothes and shoes into the holiday suitcase even though there were never worn! Socks stuffed inside shoes. T-shirts rolled up around that must have bottle of local prune spirit that would strip paint. Wet swimwear sealed in spider web-thin, cheap polythene shopping bags from the local grocery store to avoid buying the hotel beer at mortgage prices.

The old airline luggage stickers are removed and the cracked and expired personalised airline loyalty ID tags are secured again. Finally, after finding a very large bloke to sit on the suitcase while you zip it shut inch by inch you get the question from behind that all nominated case packers know only too well……

“Will this fit in?”

Well, it might have done had I known it was supposed to go in little bit earlier. And why is the last minute mystery piece always something substantial and awkwardly shaped like a hair dryer with a non-removable attachment? Ok, bring back the big bloke, feed him an extra burger and let’s get the hair dryer packed.

“Is that it, really? No more, nothing else?”

Who else suffers from this last minute, unplanned request for space in an already crowded environment? Yes, your 3PLP warehouse manager. The similarities are endless. Existing space filled with stuff that nobody needs or is even the wrong size/variant. Marketing “specials” that never really caught on in the market place and were quietly dropped despite the expense and effort of buying them. Damaged goods etc, etc, etc.

A warehouse that is reasonably full with what you planned to sell will struggle to cope with your month-end loading to make the numbers and unlock the hardly deserved sales bonuses. Sales and Marketing think that warehouse space is infinite and they are usually the culprits throwing in the last minute “hair dryer” request.

Once the warehouse is close to 100% full it stops acting as a functional distribution centre. Stock cannot be moved in or out in good time. Stock is not logged in correctly and anything left sitting on trucks for available space is prone to shrinkage and damage. Fork lift trucks go out of action as available spare batteries prove insufficient to compact 14 days of movements into the final few days of the month. People and IT systems become overloaded with transactions etc, etc, etc.  Why is this really a surprise?

If you have not sorted out your RTM and market activation yet then you are heading for this in the final months of the year and not even a burger guzzling big bloke will secure success.


Image credit: www.luggagepros.com

Tags: FMCG, Logistics Service Provider, Dave Jordan, CEE, Logistics Management, RTM Assessment Tool, Inventory Management & Stock Control

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