Boosting Warehouse Efficiencies

boosting warehouse efficiencies

Among the many facets of supply chain management, the warehouse ranks among the highest places to focus on boosting warehouse efficiencies. With the right processes and tools in place, you can increase revenues, deliver better service to your customers, and reduce costs. There are several areas to consider when this is your mission, and performing an audit of your operations can help you determine where and how to improve.

Material handling is a good place to begin when looking for areas in need of an upgrade. From receiving on through shipping, you should drill down on areas that can stand to improve. Changes like higher density storage, the addition of robots to move goods to and from pickers, and high-speed conveyance can address slowdowns and bottlenecks in your operations. Don’t overlook the final 100 feet, either, where adding simple automation can make a big difference.

Automated data collection should also be part of your toolkit by now, and if not, investigate adding it. When you can track inventory from receiving through shipping, you’re ahead of the game and won’t waste time or labor hunting down products. It also produces data that becomes a useful feedback loop for future improvements. To manually collect data, you set yourself up for human error and delays. Invest in automated data collection for the best outcomes. Barcode scanners, RFID readers, and serial numbers put an eye on all the products moving within your four walls. You can avoid being left in the dark when connected to your WMS.

You can extend this inventory tracking to how you prioritize and manage the products within your walls. You can identify the items that impact your overall inventory costs using ABC analysis. With that information in hand, you can determine how to best manage those key items, saving money by boosting warehouse efficiencies.

Your dock is another area of opportunity. Today’s dock scheduling software can put you in an optimal place for smooth, efficient operations. You’ll prevent delays and the backup of trucks waiting to unload or take shipments away from your warehouse. This leads to happier drivers, better productivity, and, ultimately, happier customers.

Safety is also key to boosting warehouse efficiencies on many levels. First and foremost, you need to keep your employees’ safety and well-being at the top of your priority list. Beyond that, however, gaining a reputation as a facility that takes care of its staff can be a differentiator when competing for the shrinking labor pool. A healthy staff is also a productive staff. When you reduce employee sick days, you can better rely on having the staff you need on any given day. Focus on training, safety equipment, and maintenance, and not pushing your team too hard. They will appreciate your efforts, and you, in turn, will get more productivity from the staff you have on hand.

Supply chain management is complex and multi-faceted. Focusing on warehouse operations is a good place to boost the overall supply chain.