Operating a warehouse is easy, but doing it efficiently is a totally different story. A whole lot of elements influence warehouse efficiency, so you have to be clever enough to use the best practices and eliminate underperforming procedures.
Of course, the task is easier said than done because it’s getting harder to distinguish between the strengths and weaknesses of warehouse management. Each organization has its own peculiarities, while the costs of running a warehouse are increasing for almost 70% of retailers.
All you can do is rely on the latest warehouse management techniques and programs, so let’s check out seven smart suggestions to improve workflow and cut operational costs.
1. Provide Regular Training Sessions
One of the basic (and simplest) rules of warehouse management is not to let anyone work with your team without going through an extensive onboarding program. You have to provide team members with enough training sessions so as to make them ready for full-time work as soon as they step into your warehouse.
Jacob Richardson, a business analyst at Australian Writings and Myperfectwords, says it’s not where the story ends: “You will also have to organize training sessions and group discussions on a regular basis. Such a tactic will prevent possible injuries and teach your staff how to avoid accidents.”
2. Deploy the Visual Communication System
No matter how experienced or well-trained your employees might be, you still need to give them clear instructions all over the warehouse. You can do it with a visual communication system using obvious and intuitive signs and labels. There are all sorts of symbols, graphics, and images that will make a warehouse safer and easier to navigate, so don’t hesitate to use them.
3. Optimize Storage Capacity
Do you know that the average number of SKUs reached 13,985 per warehouse in 2018, up almost 7% year on year? Logistics companies are obviously trying to keep pace with the growing demand, but it also requires a thorough optimization of storage capacities. You can do that like this:
- Introduce one-way lanes to prevent traffic jams
- Reduce travel times through the warehouse
- Minimize the number of touch points
4. Get a WMS
According to the report, only 18% of small and medium-sized businesses utilize inventory management systems. It’s a big blunder because warehouse management software (WMS) can help you to automate processes, cut costs, and improve workflow simultaneously. It is one of the smartest decisions you can make because of the WMS benefits like:
- Just-in-time inventory
- Improved visibility of warehouse items
- Enhanced security
- Better inbound and outbound performance
- Faster and more accurate billing management
- Reduced operational errors and time-waste
5. Conduct an Inventory Audit
Another thing you should do is to conduct an inventory audit to learn what’s really going on in your warehouse. Essay writing service and assignment writing help authors who specialize in business administration claim that most warehouses still struggle with lots of dead inventory.
In such circumstances, the only logical thing to do is to organize an inventory review and analyze performance based on indicators such as turnover rates, ROI, the average time needed to sell items, product gross profit, and so on.
6. Make Timely Forecasts
Almost every warehousing company has to deal with low and high seasons. If you are operating one such organization, make sure to create timely forecasts and get everything prepared well in advance. For instance, you should pay attention to the holiday seasons, special events, summer or winter products, etc.
7. Measure Performance
You probably know an old business rule: If you can't measure it, you can't improve it. This is why you must determine key performance indicators and follow the execution continuously. It will help you to understand how your warehousing business functions and identify features that can be improved quickly.
Warehouse management is constantly changing and adding new elements to the workflow. A lot of features make the job easier, but some of them also make things confusing so it’s not so easy to recognize the best practices.
We tried to give you a hand here by pointing out seven smart suggestions on how to improve workflow and cut operational costs:
- Provide regular training sessions
- Deploy visual communication
- Optimize storage capacity
- Get a WMS
- Conduct an inventory audit
- Make timely forecasts
- Measure performance
What is your favorite warehouse management tactic?
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