A warehouse is a commercial building for storage of goods. Warehouses are used by manufacturers, importers, exporters, wholesalers, transport businesses, customs, etc. They are usually large plain buildings in industrial areas of cities and towns. They come equipped with loading docks to load and unload trucks; or sometimes are loaded directly from railways, airports, or seaports. They also often have cranes and forklifts for moving goods, which are usually placed on ISO standard pallets loaded into pallet racks.
Some warehouses are completely automated, with no workers working inside. The pallets and product are moved with a system of automated conveyors and automated storage and retrieval machines coordinated by programmable logic controllers and computers running logistics automation software. These systems are often installed in refrigerated warehouses where temperatures are kept very cold to keep the product from spoiling, and also where land is expensive, as automated storage systems can use vertical space efficiently. These high-bay storage areas are often more than 10 meters high, with some over 20 meters high.
The direction and tracking of materials in the warehouse is coordinated by the WMS, or Warehouse Management System, a database driven computer program. The WMS is used by logistics personnel to improve the efficiency of the warehouse by directing putaways and to maintain accurate inventory by recording warehouse transactions.
For a warehouse to function efficiently, the facility must be properly slotted. Effective slotting addresses which storage medium a product will be picked from (pallet rack or carton flow), and how they will be picked (pick-to-light, pick-to-voice or pick-to-paper). With a proper slotting plan, a warehouse can improve its inventory rotation requirements– such as FIFO (First In First Out) and LIFO (Last In First Out)– control labor costs and increase productivity.
SAP E Books have following documents to support SAP warehouse management system. These documents will be useful for all the sap warehouse management users and consultants