3 Ways to Improve Warehouse Inefficiencies and Boost Productivity
A disorganized warehouse doesn’t just look bad to the eyes instead, it becomes more of a liability to an organization.
The warehouse is the central hub from which any trading and distribution business deliver goods, so it’s essential to deal with warehouse inefficiencies.
However, increasing warehouse’s efficiency is much easier with the advancement in technology and movements such as globalization.
The first step would be to understand your current system by auditing and assessing your warehouse. Consider the following questions:
- The average life span of products – Products moving at what rate?
- What’s the margin of error when the stock taking is done?
- Do you track warehouse changes? – Is there any paper trails to changes made in the warehouse?
When you have the data, take a real hard look at your data, and understand what the numbers are telling you. It’s good to get some independent reviews of your warehouse if you can afford the time and money.
Consider the three strategies in order to improve warehouse efficiencies.
1. Automate Processes
The first alarm bell that should ring in your head is if your warehousing operations are automated or not.
I don’t mean having robots and a production line, but at the very least, accounting and stock-taking should be managed by inventory management software.
The next level up would be order processing, where your purchases and deliveries are also managed by software.
Costly mistakes are often due to human error rather than faulty systems.
Give your system the tools they need and see how well they perform. Good systems, paired with powerful software will go a long way in eliminating inefficiencies in your warehouse. Opting for a warehouse management solution would be the right decision.
They also will give you valuable real time data about your stock and purchasing habits, so you can make better business decisions for the company.
2. Empower Your Employees
Warehouse operations greatly improve with technology, but we cannot neglect valuable human capital too. Fundamentally, employees should be doing what machines or software cannot do.
That’s how they will be motivated and add value to the company.
On a personal level, give some form of increased monetary compensation. It shows that your staff that they are valued and it empowers them to make better decisions for the company by giving their best.
To ensure a productive warehouse, make investments in your frontline managers. Constantly advise and educate them on the aspects of your business, your vision and mission.
Empower them to make decisions for the company and support them wholeheartedly.
In turn, they will spur the operations team. One motivated employee who buys into what you want to do is worth more than 10 half-hearted employees!
3. Work with Third Party Logistics (3PL)
Third-party logistics providers are an essential service in the supply chain. Also known as last mile fulfillment companies, they get your products to your customer wherever they are in the world by air, land or sea.
Although there is no hard rule for adding a 3PL to your workflow, it is highly advisable if you consistently run into issues while managing 20-30 orders per day.
Let the 3PL partners do what they do best. That will be better in the long run for both your customers and your business.
A common thread in our conversations with warehouse operators and trading business revolves around data collection. There is an old adage that goes: “you can’t manage what you can’t measure”.
Businesses cannot run on estimates, so it is essential that you are well aware of the baseline, the actual and exact expenditures, the where and how’s about them in detail before you start making changes.
Then evaluate and create regular feedback to the employees on individual and departmental performances. This healthy habit of making positive and informed changes will go a long way to solve your warehouse woes.
So, let’s get rid of warehouse inefficiencies!
PS: If you’re still struggling to make your warehouse more efficient, it never hurts to seek advice from warehousing experts.