Warehouses are an indispensable resource that acts as a caretaker of goods for businesses that specialize in importing, exporting, manufacturing, and online sales. An efficient, smooth-running warehouse is critical for preparing and maintaining inventory for timely deliveries. Superior warehouse operations include optimized distribution, timely deliveries, increased labor productivity, and exceptional customer service. Read on to learn 10 proven ways to improve warehouse operations for greater return on investments.
Think about the current state of your warehouse: Are there any areas of weakness? If so, you need ways to improve warehouse operations for your sustainability and growth.
1. Improve Your Layout
Your warehouse layout needs to be practical to ensure optimal operations. Strategic planning is necessary for the entire warehouse space being utilized to its maximum potential. When the layout is logically sequenced, it increases your efficiency and boosts productivity.
Here are a few tactics that can be used to improve your layout:
- Utilize vertical space
- Stay knowledgeable about available space
- Having a defined workflow
- Understand the best accessibility points
- Track the number of employees/ SOPs
- Regularly review and analyze the layout
If possible, you will want to incorporate these tactics into your planning phase to avoid having to make alterations once structuring is complete. Not only will you save yourself time, you can possibly save on additional costs associated with restructuring.
2. Strong Leadership
Having below average or above average leadership can be vital in an organization’s success. A strong leader who is knowledgeable in operations can help the company keep up with the market and its changing demands. In addition, strong leadership can help achieve unrealized goals such as effective use of workforce and equipment.
Warehouse operations managers should possess most, if not all, of the following skills:
- Specialized expertise in warehouse management
- Ability to understand and measure intelligent data analytics
- Capable of handling warehouse staffing needs
- Ability to monitor key performance indicators (KPIs)
A capable manager will do all this and more. Investing in a knowledgeable warehouse operations manager will change the game for you and your business.
3. Organize Your Inventory
Organization is one of the most important factors to save you time locating inventory. This translates to fast-track processing of customer orders. There are many opportunities available for you to organize your inventory, here are a few:
- Allocate separate areas for receiving goods and pick-ups
- Place best sellers near the front of the warehouse
- Label and address products with barcodes and stickers
- Group similar categories of products together/ color-coding
- Restock at uniform intervals to maintain optimal inventory levels
4. Invest in Employee Training and Safety
It is always better to be safe by taking precautionary safety measures than dealing with the consequences of a mistake. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 23 casualties on average per year as a result of warehouse accidents, and is the reason why safety is a big concern.
Any employees’ wellbeing should always be a top priority and investing in employee training is a valuable decision to make. Warehouse operations often require the use of equipment like forklifts, pallet jacks, and service carts. Serious hazards can occur if any of this equipment malfunctions or due to misuse. It is a must for all employees to wear proper safety gear and kitting. It may also help to mark hazardous areas with safety signs and other relevant signage.
Additionally, there are more ways that can help make your warehouse safer including:
- Carrying out regular fire drills
- Ensuring good ventilation in the infrastructure
- Educating employees on vehicle safety/ equipment
- Regularly assessing shelving safety
5. Adopt enabling technology
A warehouse management system (WMS) can improve efficiency by suggesting the best routes for picking up and put-away. The system can help eliminate mistakes and reduce wasted time by automating many of the tasks associated with warehouse operations.
There are a number of additional benefits associated with a WMS, such as:
- Better inventory control
- Improved customer service
- Cost savings
- Data analysis
- Decreased chance of errors in shipping products
If You Need Warehouse Services to Help Improve Your Operations, Come to Us
Primo Corporations offers a number of comprehensive engineering services and large scale manufacturing of products, including warehouse services. To learn how we can apply our expertise to your next project, contact us.