Top 5 tips to improve Warehouse Efficiency within your operations
Stock sent out to customers on time gives the impression that the company’s operation is efficient. Warehouse efficiency is not only about the delivery of products. It is also how your business can maximize productivity while minimizing cost and effort.
A warehouse management system using wireless terminals and barcode systems are standard operating procedures for the truly efficient warehouse. Having productivity within your warehouse operations is vital to the success of your business. Operations Managers need to focus on continuous improvement. In order to improve the efficiency of their warehouse.
An efficient warehouse management system provides the tools to implement changes. Flexibility to meet the needs, monitors volume, provides stock visibility, and reports on employee productivity. If you have a growing warehouse that has not implemented leading edge technology yet. Making some simple but effective changes can improve workplace efficiency instantly. Here are the top 5 tips to improve warehouse efficiency within your operations.
Have fluid warehouse locations
Many warehouses have empty spaces because they are using preset locations for each product or type. This causes “Honeycombing” in the warehouse where you can see all the gaps that could potentially be filled with more products. Warehouse staff need to be able to put product wherever it can fit bit, not to a preset location. When using this type of method, it is critical that you store the location of each item in your system. Making sure it can be found quickly when it is time to pick.
Eliminate physical inventory counts
Many companies still implement an annual physical inventory count. This usually takes a day or two, requires the entire staff, and disables all warehouse functions during that period. This cost and lack of productivity each year can negatively impact a company’s bottom as much as 10%. A better method to organize cycle counting. Cycle counts can be performed regularly during regular hours at off-peak times. It keeps inventory levels more up to date, which means better accuracy. This is an instant saving by eliminating the annual headache and cost of physical counts.
Organize warehouse for efficiency
Many warehouses are setup with the same standard racking throughout the facility. It can lead to gaps within the slots and inefficient picking. Often gaps are caused by pallets that do not properly because of wrong height or widths in slots. Non-palletized items need to have proper shelving to size and be conveniently located for pickers to get to and reach. Bulk storage needs to be setup to maximize the areas for picking. Packing and shipping stations need enough space to perform tasks effectively.
Implement a wireless network
Many companies have a wireless network (WiFi) in their office space but neglect to extend it into their industrial areas of the operation. Having a WiFi network in the warehouse allows for the most simple of equipment to be extended into the warehouse such as terminals and printers. It can be an initial step in starting to adopt technology throughout the operations and provide users with data throughout the warehouse instead of solely in a central location or through paper printed material.
Implement barcode technology to its full advantage
Many companies have barcodes on all the products going in and out of their facility making it easier to implement a system, but do not take advantage of this. The implementation of barcoding throughout each operation provides total visibility to the movement of products. Every time a barcode is scanned, it identifies the employee, items, date and time stamps each transaction. It prevents mistakes often made by human data entry error.
The biggest obstacle with implementing any of the above is software. Most businesses are run on software that does not accommodate warehouse operations. Some software has warehouse modules that are very limited and do not have the flexibility to meet the needs of a warehouse. Implementing poorly designed software can be counterproductive to operations. Warehouse managers need a software that allows them the flexibility and direction to implement changes effectively and quickly. This also makes training the rest of the staff easier and ensures that are encouraged by the improvements.
About ProVision WMS
A product of Ahearn & Soper | ProVision WMS is an off the shelf solution. That enables distribution centers and Third Party Logistics (3PL) companies to rapidly improve warehouse operations and meet the growing demands. The software was created over a decade ago based on a .Net platform. It is easy to integrate with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, or Transportation Management System (TMS). Development and improvement to the software is ongoing with new revisions released to the customers regularly. The company is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario. With branch offices across the nation. For more information on our WMS solutions, Contact us today.