Warehouse operations are an anchor of shipping and logistics. The way you handle inventory and prepare product delivery will have a substantial impact on your company, so you better think twice about every aspect of the business.
The sheer price of commercial real estate is yet another issue here, particularly for huge facilities handling thousands of items. According to the report, the average cost per square foot of warehouse and distribution centers in the US is $5.08.
If you want to minimize investments while maximizing the productivity of your business, you have to embrace cutting-edge technologies and rely on modern warehousing principles. Our job is to help you with that, so keep reading to see 11 practical ways to improve warehouse efficiency and business scalability.
1. Conduct an Audit of Warehouse Operations
The basic rule of any business is that you cannot improve what you do not measure. This is why you have to conduct an all-encompassing audit of warehouse operations to identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your business. It should give you a whole list of valuable insights that you could use to boost the productivity of the warehouse team.
2. Rethink the Space
Underperforming warehouses find it very difficult to use cubic space optimally. Jake Gardner, a business analyst at Assignment Helper and AssignmentMan, says warehouse managers have to rethink the space to make it more productive: “It’s a 3D environment, so make sure to take advantage of every square inch of your place.”
3. Prepare for the Unexpected
The secret to warehouse flexibility lies in your readiness to react to unexpected events. What does it mean? To put it simply, you have to be prepared for possible changes such as additional SKUs or alterations in product dimensions.
4. Simplify Operational Procedures
This is a very useful warehouse management tip, but too many managers still neglect it completely. Your job is to reduce the number of touchpoints and eliminate unnecessary communication among team members whenever possible. The whole point is to make procedures seem simple and automatics, thus making the whole system better and faster.
5. Reduce Travel Time
The average order picker can pick 60 to 80 picks per hour, but the figure can grow drastically in case you reduce travel time. It is time your employees spend going through the warehouse to handle the goods. Our suggestion is to optimize internal routes to ensure effortless in-warehouse movement.
6. Avoid Overstocking
Accurate inventory management is one of the most difficult tasks of a warehouse manager, but you have to make it work if you want to ensure the highest level of professional productivity. The main goal is to avoid overstocking because it skyrockets expenses and jeopardizes the stock-keeping strategy.
7. Prepare for Low and High Seasons
This tip goes hand in hand with the previous one. After all, most companies are dealing with low and high seasons depending on the nature of their businesses. For example, beverage suppliers concentrate on summer seasons because that’s when all the fun starts. A warehouse team must be able to answer to high season activities but you must also prepare to shrink stocks to the minimum.
8. Talk with Warehouse Workers
You might deploy the best programs and use state of the art inventory management practices, but your employees remain the ones who need to take care of the job properly. They understand how the warehouse functions and they can pinpoint the biggest pros and cons in everyday operations. This is why you should organize meetings with the staff periodically to discuss the main issues.
9. Give Incentives to Employees
If you are willing to spend a little extra to skyrocket warehousing operations, we recommend you to offer incentives to the most productive employees. According to HR experts and resume help agents, small perks and benefits are almost always the best and the cheapest way to boost professional efficiency.
10. Standardize Internal Operations
Warehouse managers should encourage standardization and turn common practices into full-time rules of functioning. That way, you can speed up the work and help your staff members to become more productive both short and long-term.
11. Get a Comprehensive WMS
The last item on our list is something you’d expect people to know very well. However, reports reveal that over 40% of small businesses in the US don’t track inventory, or do so using a manual system. Purchasing a comprehensive warehouse management system will make your job a lot simpler and reduce the number of mistakes to the bare minimum.
Running a warehouse business can turn out to be a risky project if you fail to analyze performance and embrace state of the art industry mechanisms. The goal is to check everything from travel times to operational procedures in order to maximize the productivity of your warehouse.
In this article, we showed you 11 practical ways to improve warehouse efficiency and business scalability. Have you ever tested any of these performance tricks? Let us know in comments – we will be glad to hear about your experiences with warehouse management!
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