February 24, 2024
    Warehouse management requires certain skills to be successful. Here are some efficiency tips for the proper management of any warehouse.

    Six Tips for Successful and Efficient Warehouse Management

    It is estimated that there are over 2 million people employed in warehousing across the US. As online retail becomes even bigger, this industry will grow to accommodate it along with a customer desire for increased efficiency. Yet as a warehouse owner do you know how to respond to the challenges?

    Increasing efficiency is one way and can be much easier than you think. Read on as we discuss how to improve your warehouse management. 

    1. Get Experience

    Arranging your warehouse without hands-on experience is a mistake. Even if you think you know how everything flows and fits into position, you probably don’t. Unless you have gone down to the ground level you won’t see the real problems and solutions that are holding back your warehouse. 

    Choose a sedate day and go down to the floor. Speak to the staff about how the processes work and how they can be improved. Ask the warehouse operations manager to teach you how the whole thing works and take you through it. 

    There are a few areas you should really spend time working on. Start by bringing in stock and monitoring the procedure. After this, take part in a few picking and shipping exercises.

    Keep your eyes open for bottlenecks in the process or anything that slows down the task. Once you have this you can go back to your drawing board. Discuss the problems you encountered with your team and how they can be solved. 

    2. Plan Your Layout Correctly

    If you have a badly planned warehouse, then you may be putting off a remodel. However, the disruption an overhaul will create will reap massive rewards. A warehouse that is not fit for purpose is one that will be slow and set up for mistakes. 

    Your first step is to identify the most popular products. These should take the spots that are easiest to reach and move items to and from. Enough room needs to be given so that multiple staff members can cross easily and retrieve different items at the same time. 

    Another consideration is the equipment you have in the warehouse. If you have forklifts, then they need room to move, turn and pick. Even smaller dollies for heavy lifting need room to maneuver. 

    All of this should work alongside your warehouse inventory management. Be it a software solution or a pen and paper job, you will need to do manual counts at some points. This means your staff has to be able to reach every part of the store. 

    3. Cut Down on Inventory

    Space in any warehouse is at a premium. For most businesses, around 20% of their inventory is made from the products that sell regularly. The other 80% are items that are infrequent sellers. 

    Having a large stock inventory looks good for business, but is not so good for your warehouse. When you have shelves where no stock seems to move, they are taking up valuable space. This could be used for new items that sell better or to ensure you have enough supplies of better-selling products. 

    When you have identified these, speak with the sales department. They may be able to finish the lines, or hold a sale to clear them out. Your warehouse will then end up with extra space to use. 

    4. Get Technological

    There are a number of options for a warehouse management system out there. The right one can drastically improve your picking systems and keep track of your inventory. With the addition of mobile devices, scanners, and barcode software, it eliminates the need for mountains of cumbersome paperwork. The latter feature is particularly useful, as it can increase the productivity of the barcode scanners by increasing their scanning rates and helping them to read damaged or low-quality barcodes more effectively. In warehouses, little things like this can pile up into bigger issues, so it’s important to keep things quick wherever possible. 

    Start by thinking about what would actually benefit your warehouse, instead of getting the technology then making it fit. Most warehouses will reap the rewards from radio frequency identification scanners. This article has information about how to get all-in-one systems to keep track of your space. 

    5. Train Staff

    If staff doesn’t get training, then they will do what they think is correct. This can differ from person to person. Before long, your warehouse will be operating a number of inventory management methods that will result in confusion. 

    Training staff in warehouse inventory management will ensure consistency across the board. Do this from the moment products arrive, to when you store them, pick, and pack. 

    Make sure you teach them how to use the equipment you provide. This could include everything from the warehouse management systems to packing. Scanner usage should be taught and how to complete invoices, orders and transfers should follow. 

    Finally, don’t forget to make sure they follow safety protocols. Should you not give correct training for equipment, you may even find yourself in legal trouble. 

    6. Incentivize Efficiency

    Once you have trained your staff, then give them something to work for. It is great if you keep motivating them, talking about efficiency, and delivering training. But nothing works as well as offering an incentive. 

    It does not just have to be a cash bonus. You may have prizes, staff discounts or gifts. Even the smallest of prizes can increase efficiency while managing to boost morale. 

    There are also a few ways in which you can measure incentives. Perhaps you may measure a reduction in mistakes, or the speed with which orders are processed. Having solid, real-time metrics from your management system makes this much easier to do. 

    Creating a Warehouse Management Plan

    Now you know the important tips about warehouse management, create a plan to implement them. Start with an overview of the warehouse. Identify problems, bring in the solutions, and make a timescale to implement changes. 

    If you enjoyed this article, we have many more to help. From industry to finance, we can help your business thrive in the coming year. 

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