“So,” we said, “a warehouse is basically like a kitchen.”
“How so,” said my colleague, looking puzzled at this latest bizarre metaphor.
“Well, when you go shopping, you don’t usually get the ingredients for a specific meal, you get them in bulk, like a bag of flour or something. In the same way, stock tends to be received in bulk.”
“Ok…” they said, still looking dubious.
“And when you get home you put things on the kitchen table. That’s like receiving stock into a receipt area. Then you start to put those things on specific shelves depending on what they are. That’s a process called ‘putaway’ in a warehouse and the place where you put the stock is called a ‘bin’.
Also, you put things into special areas, like milk into a fridge. That’s called a storage type, such as a cold store. And lastly, you put the things you need to use frequently close to where you cook. That’s the same in a warehouse where stock you use a lot is put in a ‘pick face’.”
“So that’s getting stock in,” they said, “what about going out?”
“It’s still pretty similar. In a kitchen you have a recipe that lists all the items you need. When you have a delivery for a customer it’s a similar list, called a ‘pick list’. You then get the items for the recipe, called ‘picking’ in a warehouse, and assemble them in a special place. That’s probably on your kitchen counter at home but is called a ‘marshalling location’ in a warehouse. At this point you’re pretty glad that things like salt are in your “pick face” as you don’t want to make so many trips to the cupboard. And then finally everything is assembled and then…”
“Go on,” they said.
“Well in a warehouse you would deliver them to a customer and in a kitchen… in a kitchen, I guess you’d stick them in an oven and then eat them,” we finished hastily.
“That analogy fell down there at the end,” they said.
“Little bit,” we said and went back to our work.