When products roll out on time and customers are happy, it’s easy to assume a company is efficient – but it’s amazing how many little tweaks can be made to make a big positive impact to an organisation’s bottom line.
Good warehouse efficiency is not only about putting everything in its place and getting products out on time, it’s about maximising productivity while saving time and money. Some practices like labelling are intuitive and can be done without the use of software. Others like barcodes, scanners, and RFID systems are all part of warehouse and inventory management systems that focus on monitoring the flow of products and enhancing accuracy with software.
Efficiency in your warehouse is paramount to the success of any company with distribution and increasing warehouse efficiency is a top priority for warehouse managers everywhere. It’s a well known fact improving efficiency reduces overall costs. Despite this, so many companies haven’t yet made the small changes necessary to improve this.
Whether you have a multi channel warehouse or a small warehouse, making some simple changes can easily improve workplace efficiency. Here are some helpful tips for improving a warehouse’s performance that can be applied to any warehouse operation.
1. Review effectiveness
You can’t improve something that you haven’t actually analysed. It is important to gauge if you are using your available resources to the fullest. Is there a flow of goods in and goods out? Any inefficiency within the chain will impact negatively throughout the whole process. Quite often this means that to resolve a problem in the system, the whole system has to be reviewed. It’s no use enforcing a new system in one area if something else isn’t working correctly.
2. Warehouse layout
It’s an obvious point to make that good warehouse efficiency and the layout of a warehouse go hand-in-hand, but a well-organised warehouse can quickly become disorganised and difficult to navigate, which can slow your staff down and lead to numerous safety hazards. Always keep check on the layout of your warehouse and make sure your staff are following the correct procedures and sticking to the most efficient routes.
3. Forecast ahead
For most businesses, there are generally times of the year which attract increased demand for certain items i.e seasonal trends like Christmas. A business software system, which includes demand forecasting, can predict shifts in your items and adjust the automatic re-ording to fit the demand.
4. Track your products
You can now get complete tracking and end-to-end traceability of products. By using latest location tracking technology, We track the location of your products through manufacturing, quality control, warehousing and despatch. If you choose to track individual items, handheld readers allow you to identify products off-site to detect counterfeits or access maintenance records. Using an automated tracking system not only reduces search times, it reduces labour costs and business process delays. It also ensures quality records are accurate by eradicating errors typically associated with manual processes.
5. Keep on top of stock
Overstocking of items is one of the biggest pain points for wholesale distributors, and many end up writing off large amounts of unsold or expired stock on a regular basis. Start putting a system in place which shows your stock in real-time, providing reporting to help your inventory management. We use real time location systems (RTLS) and automated identification and data collection (AIDC) to automatically track inventory on a daily basis. This means every pallet movement is recorded so you’ll always be able to keep on top of any stock issues and maintain FIFO and LIFO procedures.
6. Take advantage of technology
The implementation of warehouse technology provides more visibility through data, which allows each employee to collect real time information on the various warehouse and logistics processes. Plenty of options are available – this includes bar codes, radio frequency, pick-to-label and voice-activated technologies. These new technologies are all designed to provide different levels of increased productivity and improved accuracy.
7. Implement an incentive program
Performance targets are incredibly important to warehouses, and implementing an automatic data capture and identification (AIDC) system, such as ours, means efficiency can be improved and pallet movements sped up. This means you’ll have access to highly reliable, valuable data whereby incentive programs can be monitored, analysed and adjusted so that they are more achievable and safer.
8. Train your staff
Making sure managers are properly trained and understand the trigger points for efficiency is essential. This should be an ongoing process with regular reviews and updates on new technology, as well as inviting feedback in order to address problems swiftly and effectively. The sharing of information freely helps to reduce risk and increase efficiency and inclusion.
With smarter warehouse management, you can reduce warehouse costs. Consider our solutions to enhance your existing WMS or ERP.