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A productive warehouse relies heavily on several key aspects, but one of the most critical strategic goal in any warehouse is to improve efficiency. And most of the time it is directly linked to your ability to organize your operations.
Warehouse efficiency is not just about finding the right product in a shortest time and shipping on time, it’s about creating the most productive process while saving time and money. There are variety of factors affecting warehouse efficiency from planning for labor and equipment to labor hours, staffing, scheduling and vendor performance; warehouse management is a complex process.
Whether you have a multi channel warehouse or a small warehouse, improving the management and shipment of inventory is not as difficult as it seems. Here are 4 simple steps to improve your warehouse operation efficiency.
The very first step in organizing a smart warehouse layout is mapping out the layout of your warehouse and to create a floor plan.
This allows you to see any physical space limitations of your warehouse space and helps
using your warehouse space’s full capacity.
Best way to organize your warehouse is to have a system in which both locations and items can be tracked using a modern gun or other suitable mobile device. This further enables other efficiencies, such as finding ideal pick paths.
Step 2:Reviewing Storage Periodically
Reviewing your warehouse layout, potential space and rack configurations regularly cuts down on the possibility of human error and saves time. Your main goal is to ensure that the right item gets to the right place at the right time. To do this, entire warehouse operation needs to be optimized periodically to use maximum capacity. This will also reduce walking time of your pickers. 60% or more of the average pickers’ time is spent on walking. Any inefficiency within the chain will impact negatively throughout the whole process.
Step 3: Take Advantage of Technology
The implementation of warehouse technology provides more visibility through data, which allows each employee to collect real time information on the various warehouse and logistics processes. Plenty of options are available – this includes bar codes, radio frequency, pick-to-label and voice-activated technologies. These new technologies are all designed to provide different levels of increased productivity and improved accuracy.
Arranging your storage area will involve trade-offs. Again, like Goldilocks, you’ll have to choose the setup that is “just right” for you.
For example, with all this new space you might be tempted to spread out your SKUs across shelving areas. This would give each SKU more space, which is useful if order velocity starts to increase and you need to store more of any given SKU. But it also forces your pickers to travel farther to get certain items during your restocking cycle.
The other option is to store all your SKUs as close to the down-forward picking area as possible (see below). This strategy reduces the travel distance while restocking and leaves space open for new SKUs. But it can’t handle increased inventory of existing SKUs without reordering your shelving area.
So, if you have a lot of inventory moving between storage and the down-forward picking area every night, it makes a ton more sense to store SKUs closer. If there is less movement, or if you anticipate growth in amount ordered for your SKUs, spread out.
In each of these cases, efficiency is not attained through complex procedures or wholesale re-arrangement of the warehouse. Rather, small, incremental changes are triggered by simple decisions. This is why powerful warehouse automation software like Infoplus is so essential. By breaking down these changes into small, actionable steps carried out by the staff on your warehouse floor, Infoplus can help organizations capture efficiencies that would otherwise be impossible to find and difficult to implement.
Want to hear more tips about warehouse efficiency? We recommend downloading our eBook, Is Your Warehouse Operating at Peak Efficiency?
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