Are You Running an Efficient Warehouse Operation?

The key to manufacturing and distribution success lies in how you are currently running and managing your warehouse. Selling products is great, but if you can’t deliver those products to your customers in a timely manner, you are going to end up losing valuable customers. Warehouse disorganization, supplier delays, and inefficient picking and packing methods all contribute to low productivity levels and low customer satisfaction rates. If you want to boost your profitability and draw in more customers, you need to take a serious look at your current warehouse operation.

Operating an efficient warehouse can boost your profitability immensely, but how do you get there? Time and effort. Creating an efficient warehouse takes time, but we promise it’s worth it. We’ve created a list of 7 tips to help you improve your warehouse management techniques and lead you to more profitable growth. Keep the following in mind as you begin to tackle the improvement process:

  1. Evaluate your current picking methods.
    In order to work, your picking methodology has to suit the needs of your organization. Evaluate your current picking methods to see if they are still working. If not, implement ones that do. There are a variety of picking methods to choose from –single order, multi-order, batch picking or zone picking. Choose the one that works best for your current warehouse state and re-evaluate it every year to ensure it’s still the best option.
  2. Review the setup of your warehouse once a year.
    The setup of your warehouse is important, as it has a direct influence on your productivity levels. If your workers can’t easily find items or waste time walking back and forth to retrieve items, your setup needs to change. Reslot your warehouse periodically to accommodate your current business model and ensure correct storage. Evaluate the location of your products and stations in order to reduce unnecessary travel for your pickers. Many warehouse management systems even have the capability to help you reorganize the layout of your warehouse for optimum productivity.
  3. Organize workflow with warehouse management software (WMS).
    Sequencing your orders according to pick path and batching together similar items can save you valuable time on the distribution floor. Use your warehouse management software, such as Sage 100 ERP, to organize workflow and optimize your sequence performance.
  4. Consider automating your warehouse.
    Automating your warehouse can boost your productivity (and profitability) substantially. On average, your workers spend 60% of their time walking or moving products around the warehouse. By implementing an automated solution, such as a conveyer belt or barcode scanners, you can decrease the time your employees spend in the process and improve your results.
  5. Implement incentive programs for your employees.
    If you don’t currently have an incentive program in place, consider implementing one. Incentive programs can be extremely valuable to any organization, for they boost employee morale and serve to drive productivity levels. Offer incentives for improved productivity levels; however, make sure your productivity measurements are fair, accurate, and impartial.
  6. Place fast-moving items up front in easy access locations.
    Where your fastest moving products are located makes a world of difference. If your most popular items are stored in the back of the warehouse, your employees are most likely wasting a great deal of time. Place your most popular items near the front of the warehouse at waist level so your employees can access these items quickly and easily.
  7. Understand the technology options available to you.
    There are plenty of options when it comes to warehouse management technology, and staying current with technology is important to your company’s success. While we don’t suggest you jump on every technology trend, there are certainly a few we feel are worthwhile. Barcoding technology is a must-have in today’s warehouse and mobile options are making barcoding even easier. The Cloud is another must-have, as it gives your company instant access to all of your important data and information no matter your location. Investing in new technology may seem like a burden in the moment, but we promise the payoff is huge.

If you’d like to learn more about the technology options available to you, give one of our warehouse management experts a call today. We can set up an appointment to come out to your warehouse and evaluate your current methods and technology to help you get on the right track.

If new technology is what you’re looking for, we have recently released innovative solutions just for you. Our Sage 100 mobile warehouse, Scanco Warehouse, gives you everything you need to run your warehouse in the Cloud. Scanco Counts is a Sage 100 mobile app designed to make the physical count easier, and our Wave and Directed Picking application is a must-have if you’re looking to expedite the picking process. Stay tuned to our blog as we release new products designed to spur your company on toward success.