Warehousing rules of thumb

Ever wonder about the origins of warehousing? Dick Morreale and Don Prichard, in their publication Logistics Rules of Thumb, Facts and Definitions III, suggest references to the granaries of ancient Egypt in the story of Joseph in The Book of Genesis are among the first recorded references to warehousing.

Whether you're storing grain against future famine, or high-tech gadgets for the holiday selling season, there are some simple approaches to calculating warehouse "occupancy." One of the logistics rules of thumb suggests warehouse occupancy can be measured by cube utilization, total cartons, weight or by locations used. The most common method is locations used. To calculate occupancy, divide the number of used locations by the number of available locations. The result will be your percentage of occupancy.

This is far more practical than a visualization technique once used by a speaker at a warehousing event. He suggested the audience picture the product on their racks as ice. Turn up the heat, he continued, and imagine the puddle on the floor as all of that ice melts. How large is your puddle?

While on the subject of ice, the effect of temperature on battery life will be important if you're using electric lift trucks. For grocery and other cold storage, battery cell temperature at 77o F will yield 100% of the battery capacity. If the cell temperature falls to 60o, the battery loses 5%. At 40o, battery capacity drops to 87%. And at 20o, the battery will yield only 73% of its capacity.

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