Let’s be honest here, running a business with holding stocks, that means you have lots of cash held in your goods.
If yes, then, as much as possible, you want to make sure that you are running an efficient warehouse. Because warehouse operations efficiency is the key to the success of any company that processes inventories, and ships orders. When efficiency lags, products may not arrive at customer destinations on time, orders can get lost, and low inventory levels can result in stock outs.
With that, here are 10 tips to improve your warehouse efficiency.
1. Minimize the Number of Touches
Let’s face it, manual operations will slow movement throughout the warehouse and can introduce errors. This is a common mistake but often overlooked by warehouse owners. In fact, the solution is relatively simple, automate picking, packing, and shipping processes to minimize the number of times humans touch products and orders.
2. Offload some WMS Processes
Offload some WMS processes to a Warehouse Control System (WCS). That’s because the WCS solutions help manage materials handling equipment in real time, which will maximize system throughput and performance, and provide visibility to potential logjams.
3. Use Meaningful Sequencing
Stock materials using logical sequencing that is meaningful for workers. While this is not rockect science, it can be a powerful idea for any business (even for no warehouse related businesses.
This will help prevent goods from being misplaced by storing them where workers will intuitively look for them.
4. Use Data Intelligence
Gather real-time operations intelligence on warehousing processes. This is a MUST in your business especially as the benefits of digitising your business continues to out weight your cost (read about digitising your business here).
This is also important with the ever-changing customer demands that dictates the flexibility requirements of existing facilities. To support continual warehouse process improvement, and ensure business goals are being met, gather and analyze real-time data as you can and cover from order fulfillment technology and materials handling equipment.
Benchmarking performance and analyzing collected data can facilitate more informed decisions about how to respond to changing customer requirements and business goals.
5. Upgrade Selectively
Don’t just implement the latest, greatest module from your WMS vendor. This may not always be the best option. A part from the fact that the ROI is not ensured, the added complexity may slow operations, befuddle staff, and generate unnecessary work.
6. Increase Visibility
Gain end-to-end visibility throughout the facility and processes. Eliminating silos in the warehouse — from the loading dock through delivery and transport operations — removes barriers to growth and innovation.
In many organizations, supply chain executives and corporate operations plan independently, often negatively impacting corporate goals. Maximize profits and establish competitive advantage with cross-functional organizational plans.
7. Make It Part of your Business Goal
If your goods are held in your warehouse and your goods are important assets of your business, then it’s not surprising that your warehouse should be an important part of your business, right?
Hence, align your warehouse operations with key business goals. Even if facing pressure from customers to implement changes, don’t ignore your overall business objectives. Keep focusing on actions that meet strategies and your warehouse will grow with your business.
8. Invest in Equipment
Implement equipment to automate warehousing processes should have already been part of your business strategy. As you will see, warehouse automation increases throughput, eliminates errors, and heightens shipping, picking, packing, storage, crossdocking, and labor performance.
It’s a no brainer to invest in the right equipment.
9. Flexibility and Agility
Establish flexibility and agility in the warehouse. You want to be able to make changes fast when you face competitive pressures. Select a WMS that seamlessly integrates with your ERP and supply chain systems.
10. Use Relevant KPIs
Establish key performance indicators. Measure results, and implement changes to improve your business performance.
11. Improve Pick Methods
Know your picking methods and learn what suits your business the most.
Picking is one of the most important functions that is performed in the warehouse and often picking process is the most time-consuming process hence could become a bottle neck: if not done fast enough. The more orders are picked, the more orders can be shipped, that means more orders can be invoiced, hence picking directly increases the revenue for the Distribution Center.
Picking also directly impacts the throughput metric, hence improving the productivity and speed of the picking process, directly improves the throughput of the distribution center. Throughput is the measure of inventory that is received into the inbound dock doors and shipped through the outbound dock doors by fulfilling orders.
There are too many ways to improve your warehouse efficiency. The worst thing to happen is that you don’t do anything about it. In fact, if you need help feel free to contact us for help here and we will be more than happy to help.
Thank you for reading and hope you find this useful to improve your warehouse efficiency.