At first glance, warehouses look like industrial areas where businesses store their products and process shipments. Among the ones who use such commercial places include wholesalers, manufacturers, exporters, and importers. Warehousing, like any other business operation, requires efficient management to be able to maximize profits.
A business owner should ensure efficiency in storage, reception, and shipping of the goods. Everything must be optimized. However, warehousing is never an easy job. Depending on the company or business, some of the struggles include lack of space, excess stock, extra work procedures, low traceability, inaccurate outfitting, incorrect execution times, and more. To guide you in improving your warehouse management, we’ve listed a few strategies that your team can do.
1. Check warehouse performance
Before you can update anything on your warehouse management, you need first to check its current performance. When benchmarking for profitability and efficiency, aspects like business technology, team performance, and competitors must be taken into account. Check the technologies used by your distributors and suppliers for a seamless supply chain. At the same time, you need to establish clear key performance indicators (KPIs) within the warehouse, which will help measure workforce efficiency. Lastly, look into the performance of your direct competitor. Benchmarking your warehouse performance against direct competitors can give you a tip or two for boosting efficiency and profitability.
2. Update your management system
One of the essential elements of running a warehouse is the management system (WMS). This type of software is utilized for day-to-day operations. These include sorting of goods, monitoring item movement, to locating the products in the warehouse. Inventory in warehouses can be a huge challenge, and a warehouse management system can streamline it. Invest in a WMS that is suitable for your company’s budget, function, and size. It would be best if you also considered the demands of your workforce to choose the most appropriate system. Some crucial features to have include inventory transactions, automation, order management, and compliance and reporting. If you’re already using a WMS, be sure it’s efficient and up-to-date. Doing so can bring immense improvements to your operations. For more regular updates, you can consider Software as a Service (SaaS). This also allows for smoother interactions with enhancements and add-ons to your systems.
3. Gear up on the hardware
Warehouse management requires accurate inventory and work order to maintain productivity and efficiency. One critical technology for such harsh environments is the industrial embedded computer. Investing in such cutting-edge tools can help you eliminate paperwork or improve inefficient processes. Other benefits include real-time inventory control, increased accuracy, and more savings since these devices are specifically designed for harsh environments. It’s also best to invest in other rugged handhelds for your warehouse operations. Look for ones that are waterproof, dustproof, and drop-tested. Other hardware devices to consider purchasing include rugged wearables and barcode scanners. Also, don’t forget to check and update your warehouse equipment, including lifting and packing machines, storage like carousels and shelves, material handling machines like conveyors, and dock equipment such as dock boards, wheel chocks, and truck restraints.
4. Plan how to execute
Warehouse modernization won’t be successful without proper execution. One thing to remember is that it’s not always about automation. It’s more of breaking down the plan into more minor activities for steady progress. You can start with reviewing your modernization and preparing the team for their roles and the timeline. Next, find a person who can lead the go-lives, from the coordination and documentation. Make time for data collection and provide your team with time to adapt to the changes. Last but not least, aim for continuous improvement of your warehouse management. Be on the lookout for the current trends on leading-edge technology such as business management applications and cloud solutions.
5. Invest in other technologies
Speaking of warehouse technology, there are a lot more you’ll need besides business management applications. For one, there are automated picking tools with modern barcoding options and reporting features. It can enhance your picking process, from pick-to-light, robotic order picking, and voice automated order picking. You can also invest in automatic guided vehicles to move products, load pallets, and collect different materials. Other technologies to consider include automated inventory control platforms, collaborative robots, and storage and retrieval systems.
There are so many things that could happen if you inefficiently manage your warehouse operations. You can face delays in the processes, have damaged products, and lose a significant amount of money. Nonetheless, you can avoid or overcome these challenges by following the warehouse management strategies in today’s guide.