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Create an Efficient and Up-to-Date Warehouse

– Contributed content –

Warehouse garage

(alexanderbeck, Pixabay)

3 Mar. 2020. Efficiency and the ways we implement it matter in any business setting, but never more than when it comes to your warehouse. While this might be the out-of-sight-out-of-mind part of your business, wasting precious warehouse time can cost you more than inefficient processes in near enough any other part of your company. After all, your stock arrives here; your suppliers congregate here and, ultimately, your front-of-house operations rely on things running smoothly.

Regardless, a surprising amount of managers fall foul to wide-scale inefficiency without realizing the costs. Even when warehouse workers bring up pain points, there’s a temptation to brush them aside. Take note, though, that inefficiency rumbles in your warehouse jungle are rarely without cause. And, addressing these sooner rather than later is the only way you can stop such issues from impacting your business elsewhere.

As such, the question you should be asking yourself is what issues you’re currently facing, and what you can do about them to bring your warehouse into the light once more.

1 – You aren’t maximizing space

Too often, we fail to utilize the full extent of warehouse space, an issue which can cause significant storage setbacks. After all, a warehouse with plenty of space going to spare will soon see stock going wherever it fits, and causing inventory/time nightmares like little else.

Luckily, making the most of the space available within your warehouse is easier than you might expect, and it comes in the form of building upwards. While you will, of course, need to read up on height restrictions, tall storage units with the correct packing procedures can transform even a cramped space.

Equally, labeled bays that are wide enough to fit stock are guaranteed to simplify storage processes, and thus free up space you might otherwise have assumed out of reach. Ultimately, you need to rehaul operations right now and find better ways to utilize the area you’ve got. Like cleaning up a messy room, it’ll amaze you how much space this alone can clear. And, once those storage units/stacked containers are in place, there’s no reason you need to suffer from troubles here ever again.

2 – Your inventory is anything but lean

Along those space-saving lines, it’s also worth considering mistakes you might be making with your inventory stock. Too often, we fall foul to the temptation to bulk up warehouse inventories with safety stock or bulk orders. Undeniably, this can be the best way to guarantee that you never run out of the fundamentals when you need them.

Sadly, this is also a prime way to ruin warehouse efficiency once more, even if you’ve managed to make the most of the space you have. After all, excesses of stock are going to fill that space and more in no time. Not to mention that old stock could become confusing to keep track of, and may even get lost along the way. That means your warehouse staff will then have to sift through countless bays of equipment before they can ever find anything when they need it.

Far from saving your bacon, this alone could slow every single warehouse process, and ultimately cost you a great deal. Instead, consider implementing as lean an inventory to your warehouse as you would in a customer-facing shop-front. You’ll want to make sure you have the basics, of course, but there’s no need to buy in bulk ‘just in case.’ Instead, you merely need to delegate the role of reordering to a member of your warehouse team that you trust. That way, there’s no real risk of ever running out, but equally no risk of overloading warehouse storage.

3 – You aren’t adopting enabling technologies

Technology has enhanced every aspect of company life, and your warehouse is no exception. There is now no end of enabling technologies on offer to put inefficient processes behind you at last, and a failure to adopt them could well be your problem.

Warehouse management systems (WMS), in particular, are proving useful for implementing more manageable and trackable processes across warehouses. Equally, tech additions throughout the warehouse space can also help to put inefficiency in the past. For instance, scanning portals next to large bays ensure that staff don’t forever need to take stock elsewhere to scan it or carry cumbersome machines around with them.

Along the same lines, investing in connected warehouse vehicles (if you haven’t already) can make it far easier to get from one side of even an ample warehouse space to another. Note, too, that you need a 20 gpm fuel pump to really enjoy this benefit by ensuring staff can even fuel their vehicles without having to forever return to one individual warehouse fuel pump. In short, you need to provide whatever you can to make running and operating without your warehouse easier at last.

4 – You haven’t organized your workstations

Within an office space, organized workstations are always a priority for efficient processes, a fact that’s sadly often lost where warehouses are concerned. There’s so much going on in these spaces, after all, that the actual workstation can soon become awash in invoices, space machine parts, and even stock that’s waiting to go away. Unsurprisingly, though, a poorly organized warehouse workstation can lead to complications and the inefficiency that you’re attempting to avoid.

To overcome this, you should encourage your staff to implement the ‘5S’ method that consists of –

  • Sort
  • Set in order
  • Shine
  • Standardize
  • Sustain

Then, you can rest easy that they’re in the best position to access paperwork, find the tools they need, and track orders, all in the shortest possible timeframes.

Conclusion

Warehouse organization and efficiency can be a tough thing to get your head around, especially when you aren’t on that warehouse floor day in and day out. But, trust us when we say that getting things in order here will have a ripple effect on the rest of your enterprise. And, that’s a benefit you simply can’t afford to miss.

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