The Warehousing ( Regulation and Development) Bill, 2005 seeks to establish a Warehousing Development and Regulation Authority, similar to Director General Civil Aviation or TRAI.
That got me thinking about the need for a Warehousing Development and Regulation Authority? Why should there be a Warehousing Development and Regulation Authority? What would be it’s role and responsibility? This is like similar to setting up a Software Development and Regulation Authority!
After all market forces dictate the price, quality and other parameters of warehouses.
There are global standards in warehousing, the most well known being the GMP [ Good Manufacturing Practices].
What is GMP?
GMP stands for Good Manufacturing Practice. These are the global standards for manufacturing, warehousing and transportation. Here, we will talk about GMP for warehousing.
GMP covers all areas of warehousing- design, construction, fire safety, pest control, FIFO, batch control, training of warehouse team, self-inspections, safety in the warehouse, stock counts, shrinkage, truck quality etc.
What is GMP for warehousing?
GMP starts from even before you enter your warehouse. How is the approach road? Will the stocks in the truck shake and get damaged even before they reach the warehouse? Will the truck be able to reach the warehouse in the rainy season? Is there garbage outside the warehouse which might create a pest problem? Can the stocks be unloaded without the stocks getting wet in the rain? Do the roofs leak?
Does the warehouse have sufficient safety against a fire? Are there sprinklers? Are there sufficient fire extinguishers? Is the warehouse team trained on handling fires? Is there a first aid box? Is there a first-aid team?
Is there a effective pest control is place? Is there evidence of pest ingress? Are the windows sealed to prevent birds from coming in?
Warehouse Stock Release
Is FIFO followed? What processes are in place to enable FIFO? Is there a process to track batches, especially for food and drugs?
Are the warehouse teams well trained on the jobs they are supposed to do? How often do they get refresher trainings?
Are the teams trained in safety? Are there operators given regular refresher trainings in handling forklifts, high reach trucks?
Are trucks inspected for leakages? Are they inspected for damaged flooring, nails and screws protruding out, which could damage the product?
What is the benefit for a company on following GMP standards?
Following FIFO and batch control reduces the cost of obsolescence. Ensuring effective pest control ensures that consumers get quality products, especially in the case of food and drugs.
A GMP warehouse can lead to better customer satisfaction. In the company I worked for, we took our distributors/stockists and retailers on a tour of our depot and DC. We explained to them the processes and care we took to handle the products we sold them. The distributors/stockists and retailers were impressed with the cleanliness and appearance of the warehouse, the care we took of the products we sold them, the FIFO process and the batch traceability. After the visit, product complaints from retailers and stockists reduced, we got requests from stockists to train them on warehousing/ FIFO and best of all, in the yearly customer satisfaction survey, in which we survey retailers, our scores went up!
For the warehouse operator, GMP standards could be a minimum standard. In India where warehousing quality is abysmal and dismal [ there are exceptions, of course] , warehouse rentals could have an incentive components linked to the GMP rating achieved.
What’s in it for the consumer? GMP is a basic minimum standard to ensure your consumer gets the right quality product. It could be a mater of survival!
“Customers today want the very most and the very best for the very least amount of money, and on the best terms.
Only the individuals and companies that provide absolutely excellent products and services at absolutely excellent prices will survive.”