There are so many things that have changed in our world in the aftermath of the pandemic. The way we work. The way we play. How we take care of ourselves and how we interact with others. It is what you might expect as the world learns to live with COVID-19.
There is no greater example of this mountain of changes than in the logistics of manufacturing in the United States. Businesses learned that they could not rely on the supply chain as it once was. When it broke under the weight of a world pandemic, it broke businesses that had based their business model on an available supply of raw materials and parts that arrived just as they were needed (Just-in-Time or JIT). No longer were the manufacturing inputs always available.
Changes in manufacturing trickled down to support industries. Transportation, logistics, purchasing, and more had to adapt. The warehousing industry was among those impacted and required to step up to a new business model. Here are five ways warehousing has changed in this post-pandemic world:
1. Decentralized warehousing options
For companies to provide that same-day or next-day delivery that we have come to expect, many distributors have brought the goods closer to consumers through smaller, decentralized warehouses. With the transportation and the supply chain still impacted by the pandemic, these warehouses provide some protection from localized supply chain disruptions.
2. More Work In Progress storage
For the first time in a long time, manufacturers have found a lack of some of the supplies needed for their products at a time of high demand. In order to be prepared for the eventual arrival of those items, manufacturers have been continuing to build or assemble–up to the point where inputs are not available. This leaves those companies needing to store Work In Progress while they wait, and that has increased the need for space for unfinished inventory.
3. Keeping more inventory on hand
Over the years, on-site warehousing of goods needed in the manufacturing process had shrunk as part of the move towards a JIT strategy. With a return to more traditional processes in order to make up for supply chain instability, manufacturers are keeping more parts and other inputs on hand. This has changed warehousing dynamics for many companies that had downsized their warehousing space over the last decade.
4. Inventory visibility
With companies keeping more parts on hand, with more work in progress being stored as part of the manufacturing process, inventory visibility has become even more crucial. Companies need to know what they have on hand or available for every step of the process. Customers want that information as well and may use it in their decision-making on where and even when to buy.
Other trends listed here have created a change in where goods are kept. JIT manufacturing led to less need for on-site storage. Now, with a supply chain fix that includes keeping more parts and raw materials on hand, necessary increases in storage may no longer be available on-site. Outsourced warehousing and distribution is one solution for many companies with space concerns.
There are plenty of changes to the business world in the aftermath of a global pandemic. From hybrid work arrangements to supply chain weaknesses, even the most ingrained policies and practices are being reviewed and altered. Warehousing is no exception, as the industry adapts to a new, renewed business model.
Mayer Alloys Corporation brings together the resources to meet your manufacturing, assembly and supply chain needs. From metal distribution specializing in tin and lead products, to non-ferrous scrap metal recycling, mil-spec and contract and packaging services and supplies, 3PL warehouse, cross docking, and distribution services and electronic recycling. Contact us today to see how we can meet your supply chain needs!