What is Ambient Storage?
Ambient storage is something within many warehouses to cater for products which need to be stored at room temperature, such as paper, electrical items, perishables and toys; to name but a few. There are many warehouses for fulfilment needs throughout the UK and most of them, even if more specialised, will have at least one area of ambient storage. The costs involved for ambient storage can vary dramatically and depend on a number of things. The type of building, whether new building or utilised old aircraft hangar, may alter the price that you’re quoted for storage. The location of the warehouse will also affect the price; this can be due to the region or the accessibility to roads and motorways. For example, a warehouse that has ambient storage in the London area will charge premium rates, simply due to the location – they may offer no other benefits besides this, however convenience in location is a huge bonus for ease of distribution. Warehouse companies are able to assist you will all of your logistical needs; everything from distribution and storage to picking and packing and order fulfilment services and the more comprehensive the services, the larger the costs involved however, when looking at overall budget the higher the price and quality of services for your warehouse provider will save you much money and indeed time, when trying to find many different companies to perform the different tasks – having everything in once place is much less draining on all resources, over time.
Ambient Services Should Include…
Complete Stock Management and Reconciliation: When this is performed correctly, your fulfilment will run smoothly and without any issues. Your warehouse provider, who will compare the inventory counts in the records, to those actually on the shelves within the warehouses and spot any differences, should conduct this. Adjustments may need to be made to your records that will reflect the analysis. The reconciliation is an imperative part of the cycle counting and should be done continually to ensure that when an order is made, the product is there ready for dispatch without delay.
Racked and Bulk Storage: The ability should be in place to manage abnormal loads, especially during peak season. Companies are often busier during times of more purchases, such as the run up to Christmas. A warehouse must have adequate ambient services to cope with higher demands when they come to prevent customers being unable to make a purchase, due to you having no way of having the extra items in stock, items need to be ready and waiting for a sale so that they can be shipped as soon as possible eliminating delays which would make a customer possibly go elsewhere.
Import/Export Containers Loading/Unloading: Your warehouse needs to hold a complete package for you, to prevent you having to hire in different companies for different needs, which will mean a much higher cost for you. Items that need ambient storage also need to be shipped in the same manner; this means that your provider must be able to transport all products maintaining the correct temperature to prevent damages.
Cross Docking: This is a strategy that should be implemented to help achieve a competitive edge. When done appropriately and under the right conditions for ambient required products, this service can aid significant improvements in handling times and efficiency. It’s a logistics procedure where items are distributed directly to the customer without storage time.
Pallet and Case Picking: Different products will need to be stored in different ways, none more so than those needed ambient storage. They need to be protected from the elements to prevent tampering, damage or waste. Your warehouse should have an assortment of storage materials to ensure that every product is catered for accordingly.
Full Transport Management: Your warehouse should have the ability to oversee products from storage, to distribution and delivery and make allowances for the different requirements that may be needed. It should be their duty to ensure that items are taken from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep in time and in good condition.
Real Time Stock Reports: Your customers will be contacting you with queries on their products, deliveries and to place an order, they will unlikely be contacting your warehouse direct. This means that you need to know at all times what your inventory is, what your warehouse has in place for deliveries and their routes – basically everything which could affect your customer. Your warehouse needs to divulge this information to you through real time stock reports, or provide you with a way to access their records as and when you need to.
Quality Control: Whether your products are perishables such as crisps and snacks or other items, all will need to be preserved within the correct level of ambient storage to prevent damages, contamination and loss of items through waste etc. Quality control should be in place in order to prevent anything going wrong with your items; it should also be regularly audited.
Ambient Distressed Load Management: Your warehouse needs to be able to deal with any situation that could arise that could potentially result in huge losses to profits. A distressed load could mean incorrect temperature on vehicle, product contamination, identification of wrong labelling, clandestine infiltration. Comprehensive reports should detail any distressed load issue, ensuring that the panic is taken out of a crisis.
Full Traceability: This means proof of delivery, which can be vital if a customer denies receiving their item(s) you need to have the proof to hand that the items were indeed delivered correctly; on time and to the correct destination. This is now done through electronic technology, which can track the driver to his destination as well as having a signature required from the recipient on a digital device that will store this within your records immediately.
Digital Based Ordering: It is much easier, and quicker, to be able to contact your warehouse digitally, through Emails, fax and web based ordering. This is also a better way of eliminating any misunderstandings that can come with verbal communication, as the requirements will be in black and white.