A warehouse is one of the essential assets of a company. By improving warehouse operations, companies can keep costs low and enhance customer experience. When there is poor warehouse management, inventory is not received on time; a company compromises its reputation, and workers are not as productive as they should. Therefore, it is prudent to enhance warehouse operations to save money and improve customer experience.
To help warehouse managers to improve efficiency, we have rounded up the best practices in the industry.
Assess and Audit Your Warehouse
The first step to streamlining warehouse operations is running an audit. Check how long it takes for supply chain operations to be completed. The questions you should seek to answer are, is order picking done fast: Are goods organized impressively? If there are hiccups in order picking and processing, this is the main area to rectify.
Incorporate Technology in Operations
A warehouse management system will go a long way in improving efficiency. The WMS system suggests favorable routes and most efficient picking or put away techniques. Additionally, the system automatically produces a picklist that can be shared with logistics personnel to reduce paperwork, time wastage, and mistakes. There is no doubt that a warehouse management system will make your warehouse greener and neater.
Besides, by utilizing radio frequency identification or barcode, readers can eliminate picking errors and enhance the accuracy of transactions.
Boost Labor Productivity
Come up with efficient picking plans to reduce time wastage in the warehouse. Heavy and bulky goods should be stored near the warehouse entrance to minimize travel time. In addition, store items that are in high demand near one another. The secret is keeping items that you regularly pick in the most accessible area to do away with picking delays.
Optimize the Available Space
Improving efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean you need to increase the footprint of your warehouse. Start by maximizing the available vertical space. You can do this by installing taller storage units and getting the right equipment to store and pick materials. Also, research on different types of shelves and choose the most appropriate for your materials. Have different storage units for different sizes of goods. For example, it is not recommendable to store smaller items on pallet racks. It results in wastage of space, and goods are likely to go missing. Besides, consider standardized bins to ensure your shelves are orderly and neat.
Invest in Quality Equipment
Investing in quality equipment is critical to improving warehouse operations. Don’t buy cheap equipment to reduce expenditure. Cheap equipment wears and tears fast, and this may cause inconveniences as considerable time will be wasted in repairs. Additionally, you can’t optimize labor productivity if there is no adequate equipment. When running a warehouse, don’t be tempted to calculate costs in monetary terms only; you should gauge costs in terms of productivity.
Conduct Continuous Employee Training
World-class technology is of no benefit if employees don’t know how to utilize it. In the ever-changing business world, you need to train workers on the current industry trends continuously. Execute quality training programs to equip workers with knowledge and skills needed to utilize the provided tools. In your training, be inclined to safety and fostering innovation.
Consider Lean Warehouse Practices
Technology advancement has revolutionized how warehouses are managed. Gone are days when a warehouse was a simple material storage space. Nowadays, a warehouse is a marketplace where a dock is received, handled, and shipped accurately, and materials are picked and packed within the shortest time possible.
Lean warehouse operations cover a wide area to boost sustainable and long-term savings. Lean processes are geared towards reducing loading /offloading times and handling time to increase reliability and meet market specifications. Also, lean operations consist of a clear and transparent communication channel to reduce errors and time wastage. When picking and packing processes are improved, there is better customer experience and reduced lost sale opportunities.
When improving warehouse operations, the first thing should be running a warehouse audit. An audit helps to identify loopholes and design viable solutions.