The large number of procedures and operations that occur within a large warehouse at any one time can make it difficult to create a steady workflow.
Companies across industries are constantly working to improve their productivity and efficiency by optimizing workflow. Having an efficient warehouse is crucial to the success of the business. When products are produced, packaged, and shipped in a timely manner, customer satisfaction increases, and expenses are reduced. In turn, more orders are placed, and a higher turnover is achieved.
Whether it’s a start-up business or a large-scale company, various methods can be used to obtain optimal results in the warehouse environment. Even small and simple changes can make a large difference to warehouse performance and operational efficiency.
Perhaps a more obvious solution, but making good use of all of the available space is a simple method of increasing workflow within a warehouse. When a warehouse is organized, warehouse operators can navigate their way to the correct products quickly and easily. It also removes a number of safety hazards, avoiding accidents and injuries.
Optimizing space and creating an organized and well-structured warehouse makes it easier for staff members to work efficiently within their competencies. Take time to consider where machinery and stock are best kept to streamline the pick and pack process.
Use taller storage units and use high shelving to hold more products if it is safe to do so. This increases space usage and reduces any expansion costs associated with increased product storage.
Close tracking of products can be achieved through high-quality technologies. These systems track and locate products through the manufacturing process, from quality control to storage in the warehouse to despatch. Accurate information regarding the progress of each product up to successful delivery ensures that all, if not most, products can be tracked. This reduces labor costs and delays caused by errors or lost items. It also enables the identification of possible stolen goods or counterfeits.
Automated sortation can be implemented to remove the need for manual separation and processing of products. This type of system can identify stock and transfer them to specific destinations without the need for human intervention. It can drastically reduce the number of manual hours required within the warehouse to pick, pack, and ship items to customers. Additional uses for these organization solutions include label printing, receiving and scanning, and manifest solutions.
Standardize Training Protocols
In 2020, the number of warehouse employees in the US exceeded one million. Of these million, 40% were employed by large-scale companies with over 10,000 workers.
When all warehouse operators are up to date with the mandatory training, workflow across each department is improved. Training should be an ongoing process that is regularly reviewed and updated as and when necessary to keep ahead of technological advancements.
Providing all staff with basic awareness of each protocol within the warehouse makes the tracking and shipping of products easier, and if issues arise, it may indicate the need for further training. If knowledge lacks in one area of the warehouse, additional training can address this issue.
Standardizing protocols for staff training provide opportunities for the growth and development of current warehouse systems. Operators are given a chance to provide relevant feedback, encouraging a more inclusive workspace and boosting efficiency.
Giving employees space to voice their concerns means any apparent issues can be solved quickly and easily so as not to affect warehouse operations. If staff express issues with a specific department, necessary changes can be implemented in the manufacturing or shipping processes to overcome these issues and restore a positive workflow.
Regular reviews are necessary to identify areas for improvement. Analyzing current processes and systems can monitor their effectiveness. Perhaps resources could be used more efficiently, or packaging and shipping could be adapted to reduce waste and improve profit margins. Although the recycling rate of generated packaging and containers was 53.9% in 2018, companies are looking for methods to increase this number and eliminate as much waste as possible.
Thoroughly reviewing effectiveness eliminates inefficient practices and resolves any looming problems with warehouse operations. Reviews should be performed on the whole system or individual departments for optimal results.
Looking ahead is important for any business. Forecasts need to be accurately predicted to ensure the right stock is ordered and stored. If there is increased demand for specific products at a particular time of the year, such as Halloween or Christmas time, this needs to be taken into consideration when inventories are made to fit consumer demands.
Regularly monitoring the flow of products in and out of the warehouse is key to making accurate forecasts. Data can be used from previous years or months to curate a future plan to ensure maximum cost and time efficiency within the business.
Adopt New Technology
Using modern technology in the warehouse can significantly increase. Manufacturing processes are becoming more sophisticated, and it’s important to stay up to date with the latest advancements to ensure maximum efficiency within the workplace.
Technologies may help operators navigate to the right products and package them in less time. For example, radio frequency identification (RFID) can be used by warehouse managers to monitor inventories and collect real-time data regarding the contents of the warehouse. Over 10 billion RFID tags were used by retailers in 2019, and this is just one of several applications of RFID methods. Modern systems can be used to eliminate mistakes and reduce wasted time and resources.
Reduce Errors in Shipping
Poor shipping procedures may cause loss of raw materials, products, and resources. When products are incorrectly shipped, it requires both time and money to correct mistakes, increasing expenses and possibly decreasing profits. Shipping errors can lead to customer dissatisfaction, which reduces future sales and may affect brand reputation.
Tracking identification programs can be implemented into a warehouse to reduce or eliminate shipping errors by verifying whether a parcel is loaded onto the right truck and delivered to the right address.
Streamlining warehouse processes can increase efficiency and workflow, which improves employee and customer satisfaction.
Using integrated systems and standardized, up-to-date protocols within a business can enhance communication between departments, driving innovation and helping the company to experience significant growth.