Managing a warehouse can often feel like an overwhelming task. However, a warehouse that’s managed effectively can make all of the difference when it comes to your business’s productivity levels.
Effective warehouse management can help you save time, maximize your storage space, lower your overhead costs, and so much more. But what does effective warehouse management look like? Where do you begin?
Read on to learn what proper warehouse management looks like.
1. Create the Perfect Warehouse Layout
Warehouse management all starts with creating the perfect warehouse layout. Every inch of warehouse space costs you money in electricity, utilities, and rent.
Maximizing your layout won’t only help you stay organized, but it’ll also help you save money. An ideal warehouse layout will:
- Maximize unused space
- Minimize the handling of goods
- Allow for flexible storage
- Create more working space
- Allow for easy access to goods
To figure out a more efficient layout, take a look at your current floorplan. If you don’t already have access to an existing plan, have someone scale a drawing. Then, head to the warehouse on the weekend or on a quiet day and put yourself in the shoes of your employees.
Walk around and mimic some of the tasks that your employees perform. To assess the efficiency of your space, you mainly want to pay attention to two things: the physical work area and the workflow of your employees’ tasks.
At the very minimum, your warehouse should have the following work areas:
To promote a safer work environment, you should keep the receiving, production, and packaging areas far apart from each other. You should also draw out paths for pallet jackets and forklifts on the floor.
Once you define the area, figure out how many steps it takes to perform the essential warehouse tasks such as inspecting goods, receiving goods, preparing orders, and shipping orders.
Before you make any major changes, get some input from your warehouse staff. Ask them about the hurdles in their daily workflow. Your workers spend the most time on the warehouse floor, so they should be able to provide you with some valuable insight regarding how things should be structured.
2. Organize Your Inventory
Inventory management is a crucial component of overall warehouse management. When arranging your inventory, one of the biggest things you want to keep in mind is the time of year.
Most businesses have different seasonal demands. Plan ahead for the busier times of the year by ensuring that your inventory stock levels are up to par. You can use historical trends to forecast your demands.
Also, keep in mind that your business’s needs change over time. What may have worked in terms of inventory management in the early days may not work anymore.
Take the time to audit your warehouse, and update what stock is available and what stock may have gone missing. We also suggest taking advantage of bin locations and labeling.
Bin locations allow you to divide your warehouse up into segments. They serve as a geographical map so your employees can easily locate products.
You should also label every piece of inventory in your warehouse with an SKU number. This makes it easy for employees to identify products before shipping or moving them. Depending on the size and needs of your business, you may also want to use a barcode system.
Whatever inventory system you use, make sure it’s up to date and that no numbers are used inappropriately.
3. Speed Up the Picking Process
If you don’t have an efficient picking process, your warehouse will move at a snail’s pace. Think of it like this: when you’re cooking a new dish in your kitchen, you can get things done a lot quicker if your pots, pans, and pantry items are all organized. It also helps to have everything located near your prepping area so you’re not constantly opening cupboards and walking from one end of the kitchen to the next.
The same concept applies to the warehouse picking process. The picking process is the most labor-intensive aspect of warehouse jobs, and unfortunately, it’s also the most error-prone.
To make the picking process more efficient, you need to reorganize the layout of your warehouse to minimize travel time. You should also store the best-selling items closest to the packing area. It’s also wide to take advantage of order picking technology.
We already mentioned implementing a barcode scanning system, but you can also use pick-to-light systems, handheld RF readers, and voice picking systems.
4. Figure Out How to Receive Goods Efficiently
Learning how to receive goods in an efficient manner will also help improve the overall organization of your warehouse.
To prevent errors from occurring, make sure to allocate plenty of room for workers to sort and store inventory. And, remember to keep your sorting spaces clean for better safety. Used floor scrubbers can help you clean your space.
Also, make use of a perpetual inventory system so you can get real-time data on your stock levels and numbers.
You should also create an inventory automation system that includes forklifts, conveyor belts, and pallet jackets. This will allow you to unload your inventory safely and quickly.
Are You Ready to Take Hold of Your Warehouse Management?
By implementing these tips, you can take your warehouse management process to the next level. Pretty soon, the benefits will ripple through your organization, and your warehouse management plans will improve your bottom line.
For more information and tips related to warehouse management, check back in with our site.