Let’s face it: managing a warehouse takes a lot of time and energy. Not only do you have hundreds upon thousands of products to locate within your warehouse, you also have hundreds of products to ship to your customers in a timely manner. Proper warehouse management can be a daunting task that many companies fail to fully embrace. The key to successful warehouse management is to streamline your warehouse operations and automate your processes as much as you can. Take a look at the five most common challenges to warehouse management and how you can avoid them below:
- Inventory location
If you do not know where your inventory is located, you put your company at risk. Lack of inventory oversight can lead to numerous inefficiencies within the warehouse, which have the potential of slowing down operations and increasing costs. If pickers do not know the location of the item, they will take more time to find the item, resulting in a slow loading process and delayed shipment.Investing in a warehouse management system that employs the use of barcode technology can prevent this frustration. Barcode scanners will direct pickers to the item location and prompt them with the number of items to be scanned and shipped.
- Space utilization/warehouse layout
Your warehouse layout matters. If you are not fully optimizing your storage systems, pallets and rack patterns, you are inviting in wasted space and warehouse inefficiencies. Inefficient warehouse layouts also cause unnecessary labor and affect productivity rates. For example, if you store high-selling inventory in the back of your warehouse, your employees will waste time driving back and worth to retrieve items. It would be more beneficial to move high-selling inventory to the front of your warehouse for quick and easy picking.
- Inventory accuracy
Without an automated warehouse management system, companies tend to be unaware of the inventory they have on hand, resulting in more inefficiencies. Inadequate product visibility frequently causes excess or obsolete inventory to build up or, even worse, creates the demand for extra stock in case of product shortage. Excess inventory leads to the lack of cash flow, warehouse space issues, higher inventory costs to house extra materials, and poor customer service. Inventory shortage and inaccuracy is a serious problem as it can lead to orders being unfulfilled or delayed.Investing in a warehouse management system can improve your inventory accuracy and give you an idea of what you have on hand.
- Redundant processes
Redundant warehouse processes are detrimental to the success of your warehouse. Redundant processes are not only a waste of time, but they are also damaging to your employee’s productivity.Reevaluate your current warehouse processes and streamline workflows to boost productivity rates and optimize efficiency. Eliminate any redundant or unnecessary processes, and train your warehouse workers on any new processes or procedures.
- Picking optimization
For warehouses that still have manual processes in place, there seems to be no set route for picking items to ship. This leads to wasted time in the picking process and often delays shipment of product. Investing in a system to help direct employees to the picking/put away location will be beneficial to the overall process. Automating the routing process will reduce wear and tear on both your company’s equipment and labor work, not to mention optimizing your picking process to its full capacity.
The five challenges above can be seen in warehouses across the world. Once you have reevaluated your processes, invested in a warehouse management system, and optimized the layout of your warehouse, you are well on your way to achieving warehouse automation. Contact us today to learn more about how our team can help you optimize your warehouse to achieve maximum efficiency.