Most business owners have their own ideas on the best methods to improve warehouse efficiency. As with any other department or company asset, regular reviews and upgrades can help optimise the performance of your warehouse. High standards of quality and output targets don’t just happen – success requires constant reviewing of each and every process. Read on for some tips to improve the efficiency and quality of your warehouse operations.
Upgrade warehouse equipment and labelling processes
A business in growth needs the most effective warehousing and inventory programs for their services. Stock control and inventory management have a huge impact on your company’s ability to meet consumer demands, as well as influencing running costs. Outdated equipment and technology can reduce your company’s ability to meet shipping targets by slowing down processing.
One specific aspect of warehouse management that can hinder productivity is labelling – after all, you need to know what every box in your inventory contains and where to find it. Ensure you have efficient and fool-proof processes in place by talking to a labelling expert like Insignia. It might take a little while after rolling out new technology to see improvements, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Set and simplify daily and weekly processes
For a warehouse to run efficiently, there needs to be effective systems in place to keep track of incoming and outgoing goods, to manage staffing, and to generally keep costs in check. Not all businesses have the luxury of carefully setting procedures and updating them in line with growth targets. Instead, they often fall prey to ‘tacking on’ extra steps as the need for additional processes arises. The best way to ensure productivity and efficiency is to regularly review these processes and make adjustments as necessary. Ideally, these tasks should be carried out during quieter months when possible in order to prevent the review process itself from becoming a barrier to productivity.
Review costings regularly
A thorough understanding of the regular expenses your warehouse incurs is essential for cost-effective operation. While labour typically accounts for the highest expenses, there are also regular costs for packing materials, equipment maintenance and software upgrades. Regular reviews of contracts with casual labour hire and your suppliers can also help keep costs in check.
Review your holdings and optimise the storage area
Maximising your warehouse space means regularly conducting reviews of the number and range of SKUs on hand. It also means looking at the most effective way to store slow-moving products, and taking regular steps to keep bin locations organised. Clearly defined storage and stock holding bays will minimise lost time spent trying to locate stock items. To keep stock in check, consider dynamically adjusting the stock holdings based on history and current growth patterns.
Ask your warehouse staff for suggestions to improve output
If you want honest feedback about your warehouse’s processes and capabilities, ask the staff who work in it every day. From the receiving dock to picking and outgoings, each team will have their own grievances about the functions they perform. These departments are in the best position to recommend more efficient ways of handling stock and improving output.
Finding the right balance in management of stock, staff and equipment is essential to ensure a successful warehouse. It takes the right tools and solutions to keep a warehouse operating effectively. As efficiency is a high priority for most companies, managing the variables (such as labour, materials and scheduling) means plenty of fine-tuning. These tips can help you revise your current processes and look at areas that may need work.