Macro and Micro Considerations in Warehouse Management
Modern companies face numerous challenges because of the growing diversity of clients’ demands and the fierce rivalry peculiar to different spheres. Under these conditions, the improvement of various aspects of firms’ work is viewed as the key to generating a competitive advantage and creating the basis for future rise. Enhanced warehouse management is taken as one of the possible ways to align the effective work of different companies, reduce the time and resources needed to perform specific operations within a warehouse, and attain better results. Under these conditions, achieving flexible warehouse network arrangement and design is the top priority as it guarantees better customer service and success in completing different operational scenarios. Micro and macro level considerations, such as location, rental rates, roads, availability of workforce, and environmental factors, critically influence the functioning of warehouses and their effective management.
Macro-level considerations are usually the first aspects addressed when selecting the location for a new warehouse. These include place, environment, rent price, workforce, transport infrastructure, roads, accessibility of markets, building availability, and utility costs. The given aspects are critical for selecting the area and improving warehouse management. First, the correctly chosen place might simplify the access to customers, suppliers, and local markets, which is vital for any company and its successful development. Second, deciding on the warehouse network arrangement, it is critical to plan all shipment and transportation processes that should be performed to deliver products and ensure they are available to clients. It means infrastructure, accessibility of transport, and roads are vital aspects helping to make the final decision about arranging the desired network and constructing a warehouse. Strategic planning necessary for creating the basis for the stable evolution of any brand recognizes the critical importance of these points and the necessity to devote much attention to addressing them to avoid failures (Richards, 2017). For this reason, such issues serve as the basis for choosing the place to create the warehouse structure.
Moreover, macro-level considerations should include the local policies, environment, and availability of workers to perform basic operations. For instance, products that should be stored in low temperatures might demand additional cooling if the climate is too hot, which means additional spending (Richards, 2017). At the same time, the lack of trained and skilled employees might introduce the necessity to hire them in other regions and deliver to the place, which might reduce the effectiveness of warehouse management and indicate poor network arrangement (Richards, 2017). Finally, the policies might prohibit or introduce additional restrictions on storing specific items, meaning that a company should consider this factor when planning its operations in the area (Richards, 2017). The brand planning to enter a particular area should acquire a clear vision of existing conditions to avoid extra spending and the necessity to devote additional effort to aligning the cooperation between various departments. In such a way, macro-level considerations should be viewed as important aspects that should be addressed to increase the effectiveness of all operations and guarantee a company will benefit from enhanced warehouse management.
Micro-level considerations also play a fundamental role in arranging the work of warehouses and their management. These include layout, space, storage, safety, and sustainability, influencing most operations performed within this facility. The layout is the physical design of the internal and external areas of the warehouse (Richards, 2017). The correct planning and use of available rooms might boost effectiveness and reduce time and effort. Space refers to real property used for storing materials, items, or goods, and it influences most warehousing processes and how they are performed (Richards, 2017). The effective work of any facility of this sort also demands increased attention to safety and sustainability. These factors are vital for guaranteeing that workers will not be injured and materials will be stored appropriately (Trab et al., 2017). At the same time, operations performed within the warehouse network should not damage the environment and local communities. The shift towards sustainable warehousing is one of the important features of the modern business world (Richards, 2017). It helps to create a positive image of the company, demonstrate its interest in local communities’ work, and desire to help them.
In such a way, these micro-level considerations are vital for planning and designing a warehouse and its work. The layout, space, and storage aspects influence the use of methods to transport items within the building and ensure they can be delivered to clients fast and effectively. At the same time, safety demands are essential as they help to avoid issues about traumas and demand additional investment to ensure that risky processes are performed regarding existing regulations and requirements introduced by the authorities (Richards, 2017). The potent, aligned, and flexible warehouse networks are characterized by a reduced mistake rate, absence of traumas caused by poor organization, and a high speed of response to incoming requests (Richards, 2017). It can be achieved by considering the mentioned considerations when planning the work of a new warehouse. Altogether, it is possible to conclude that micro and macro-level considerations are fundamental for choosing the place for a would-be warehouse, designing internal and external areas, and organizing operations within the facility to attain high flexibility levels. The importance of these factors can be proven by analyzing real-life example of how successful brands take these factors into account.
Apple Inc. Warehouse Analysis
Apple Inc. is known as one of the leading companies producing high-tech devices and offering them to clients all over the world. At the same time, its manufacturing process implies using materials from different parts of the globe, meaning there is a need for an effective, flexible, and functional warehousing network. Apple’s central warehouse is placed in Elk Grove, California. The choice of the place can be explained by the macro considerations mentioned above. First, the area has a developed infrastructure allowing the company to deliver its products across the USA. Second, it has a sufficient amount of workforce needed to perform the major tasks. Skilled and educated workers can be hired for close regions. The state’s regulations and policies are also favorable and help Apple to avoid legal issues or claims. Finally, there is a potential for further expansion by using available spaces and buildings.
Analyzing Apple’s approach to warehousing, micro considerations should also be described. First, the company created the Elk Grove campus providing various functions, including warehousing, with an area of about 773,000 square feet (Owen, 2018). It offers an opportunity to store the needed equipment and avoid issues with space. Second, Apple effectively uses the available location by constantly improving its layout and major operations. Thus, at the moment, the brand is expanding its facilities in Elk Grove to meet the growing demand (Owen, 2018). Moreover, it plans to hire extra workers needed to minimize delays during the delivery processes and ensure clients remain satisfied with the quality of provided goods and services (Owen, 2018). Apple also outlines the safety measures and sustainability aspects, addressed by using technological approaches, recycling practices, monitoring tools, and devices to simplify tasks and reduce time and effort. The campus allows improved interaction between various specialists and ensures that the demanded goods will be stored effectively. If any issues emerge, the available workers might deliver the damaged product to the nearby facility to ensure it is repaired or replaced.
Altogether, the macro and micro considerations are critical factors influencing the warehouse network and its management. By correctly selecting the area and determining space and layout, the company might attain better outcomes and higher client satisfaction levels. Otherwise, numerous barriers linked to the lack of attention given to these factors might slow down the speed of the firm’s rise and limit its opportunities to overcome rivals. That is why the establishment of a flexible and effective warehouse network is viewed as the ground for aligning the stable work of any organization or company. Apple’s warehouse in Elk Grove demonstrates the importance of considering these factors. The company organizes the functioning of its facilities in terms of the most relevant and practical approaches. The choice of the region with developed infrastructure, available workforce, and the well-thought-out design of internal and external areas help the brand to remain one of the leading companies in the world.
Owen, M. (2018) ‘Apple spends $4.2m on office space to expand Elk Grove presence’, Apple Insider, Web.
Richards, G. (2017) Warehouse management: a complete guide to improving efficiency and minimizing costs in the modern warehouse. 3rd edn. New York, NY: Kogan Page.
Trab, S. et al. (2017) ‘A communicating object’s approach for smart logistics and safety issues in warehouses’, Concurrent Engineering, 25(1), pp. 53–67.