Warehouse Management and Materials Handling

  • Graham Buxton


In many people’s minds the activities associated with warehousing goods are primarily passive in nature, involving either temporary or ‘permanent’ storage in order to bridge the production-consumption gap, which we have elsewhere referred to as the ‘discrepancy of assortments’. However, a brief survey of the tasks which are common to a proper functioning of warehouse operations should convince these people that storage is in fact only a minor aspect of the total process. This may appear to be, on the surface, a rather contradictory statement — after all, warehouses do provide space for inventory accumulation and withdrawals, and space is a natural corollary of storage. Such a viewpoint, though, must necessarily be a limited one, since it fails to take into account the considerable amount of handling which takes place prior to and following the period during which items are retained in a given location.


Material Handling Safety Stock Inventory Location Order Picking Warehousing System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Frank H. Mossman and Newton Morton, Logistics of Distribution Systems (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1965) p. 286.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Permanent storage may be defined as ‘storage in excess of inventory required for normal replenishment’ — see Donald J. Bowersox, Edward W. Smykay and Bernard J. La Londe, Physical Distribution Management, 2nd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1968) p. 257.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Clearly such a trade-off requires load sizes to be assessed in the context of total system performance; the economic order quantity procedures discussed in Chapter 5 would also need to be reviewed in the light of a rate structure which offers considerable cost advantages to large loads.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For a fuller description of the Boots automatic warehouse, see Gordon Shimmings, ‘The Automatic Warehouse of Boots Pure Drug Co. Ltd’ in David Foster (ed.). Automatic Warehouse (London: Iliffe Books Ltd, 1970) pp. 127–40.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kenneth B. Ackerman, ‘The Distribution Revolution of 1970’, International Journal of Physical Distribution, vol. 1, no. 2 (Feb. 1971) pp. 83–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Or through terminals owned by authorised distributors, with whom special contractual agreements are usually made.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ronald H. Ballou, Business Logistics Management (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1973) p. 383.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    The equation has been adapted from an original formulation in Ballou, Business Logistics Management, pp. 390–1.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Although the example is based on a single-warehouse policy, the procedure discussed above can quite easily be applied in a multiple-facility situation. For example, for a maximum space requirement of 140,000 sq. ft. for Hotmac (in September), two warehouses would be needed, one of 100,000 sq. ft. capacity, and the other of 80,000; under this arrangement, an economic utilisation rate of 80 per cent would provide a maximum storage capacity of (180,000 × 0.8) 144,000 sq. ft.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    G. J. Murphy, ‘Locating Inventory Within the Warehouse’, Freight Management (Nov. 1971) p. 41.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    For a review of stacking principles see John Warman, Warehouse Management (London: Heinemann, 1971) pp. 62–7.Google Scholar
  12. A further area of concern in warehouse layout which is not discussed here is optimum aisle width, particularly in relation to the specific arrangement of pallet stacks in the storage bays —a good, general discussion of this issue can be found in Donald J. Bowersox, ‘Resolving the Pallet Layout Controversy’, Transportation and Distribution Management, vol. 2 (June 1962) pp. 43–6.Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    J. L. Heskett, ‘Cube-Per-Order Index — A Key to Warehouse Stock Location’, Transportation and Distribution Management, vol. 3 (Apr. 1963) pp. 27–31.Google Scholar
  14. 13.
    Ronald H. Ballou, ‘Improving the Physical Layout of Merchandise in Warehouses’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 31 (July 1967) pp. 60–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 14.
    Alternatively, the order itself may be physically moved from one zone to another, being built up in the process, until it is completed.Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    Bowersox, Smykay and La Londe, Physical Distribution Management, p. 273.Google Scholar
  17. 16.
    ‘Making Full Use of Space: A Warehouse Study’, Freight Management (June 1973) p. 63.Google Scholar
  18. 17.
    Ballou, Business Logistics Management, p. 212.Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    Graham has defined such a system by which goods can flow smoothly from origin to destination, with the minimum of transhipment and under unified responsibility, as through transport. See M. G. Graham, ‘The Through Transport Concept’ in Martin Christopher and Gordon Wills (eds), Marketing Logistics and Distribution Planning, (London: Allen & Unwin, 1972) pp. 126–154. The concept is developed further in Chapter 7 in the context of integrated movement systems.Google Scholar
  20. 19.
    James L. Heskett, ‘Sweeping Changes in Distribution’, Harvard Business Review, vol. 51, no. 2 (Mar.–Apr. 1973) pp. 123–32.Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    Jayne B. Spain, ‘Automatic Warehouse Pioneering’, in Automatic Warehouse, p. 21.Google Scholar
  22. For examples of warehouse automation, see Dimitris N. Chorafas, Warehousing (London: Macmillan, 1974) ch. 11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Graham Buxton 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Buxton

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations