Running a warehouse is no small feat. There are so many different moving parts involved. From managing labor to keeping track of inventory. You also have to organize transport.
Those three elements are just the start. Plus, you have to ensure everything functions together seamlessly; otherwise, it could result in a costly breakdown for your entire operation.
There is some good news, however. There are various tactics you can implement to turn your warehouse into a well-oiled and efficient machine. The following guide will place the spotlight on five steps to take.
1. Optimize your available space
Forget about expanding your warehouse’s footprint. Instead of investing in a costly expansion, you should maximize your vertical space. This can be done without too much effort. Start by adding storage units that make full use of the vertical space. Then it’s a case of purchasing equipment that can be used to pick and store materials stored higher up.
Also, consider implementing various shelving types rather than sticking with just one. For instance, using a pallet rack to store small items is both a waste of space and an invitation to misplace said items.
2. Go with a lean inventory approach
As the words “lean inventory” suggest, the premise of this approach is only to use what is needed – and nothing beyond that. This can be done by significantly reducing your safety stocks. You could even go as far as to eliminate these safety stocks altogether.
As for how this can be done effectively, you can utilize less-than-truckload (LTL freight) shipping. If you require a refresher, LTL freight shipping is where you only require the transportation of a small freight, one which doesn’t take up the entire space of a trailer. By adopting this method, you can send out more regular shipments, which means you won’t have to stockpile products in your warehouse.
A tip to maximize your LTL freight shipping is to use Shiply. With this platform, you can receive personalized quotes from hundreds of specialist LTL freight companies. By doing this, you’re not only going to gain access to highly rated shipping services but also significantly lower the standard rates for LTL shipping.
3. Warehouse layout
The layout can go a long way to improving the efficiency of your warehouse. Yet, there’s more to it than simply having a streamlined layout. This is something that has to be constantly monitored. If you get lazy in that regard, your entire warehouse can plunge into disorganization, making it difficult and dangerous for staff members to navigate.
To help with this, you should always ensure your staff members are maintaining the correct procedures. Frequent meetings can keep them alert and stop their standards from slipping.
4. Utilize technology
A business that isn’t utilizing modern technology is putting itself at a great disadvantage. This also applies to the running of a warehouse. You can use data to gain greater visibility about logistics and various other warehouse processes by implementing technology.
Whether you go with voice-activated or bar code technologies, they can help with boosting accuracy and productivity for your warehouse when picking/distributing products. The same also goes for tracking identification technologies, as they can help reduce shipping errors. Oh, and there’s also technology that allows you to track individual products – reducing search terms and keeping records accurate.
5. Review time
Even when you incorporate new processes, it’s essential you review their effectiveness of them overall. What other areas that can you still improve? For example, are goods flowing in and out seamlessly, or are issues still arising? If you spot any inefficiencies, these need to be corrected as they can be detrimental to the entire running of your warehouse.