An inefficient warehouse slows each step of your operation, including receiving deliveries and delivering customer orders. These delays cost time, and can hurt your bottom line. That's why it's important to maximize efficiency within your warehouse. There are numerous methods to improve efficiency, and what works for your organization will depend on factors such as product type, warehouse size, and average shipment size. However, there are a few methods that are being utilized throughout the industry which can offer benefits for any warehouse. But before you begin with these methods, it is essential that you review the data generated by your warehouse, to ensure that you make the best choices for your organization.
Shipping errors can be costly and are therefore an essential area of cost reduction within your warehouse. Errors in receiving create numerous problems for your warehouse personnel down the line, so it is important to stress accuracy here. Mobile receiving stations can help receivers to properly label and store inventory as it arrives, ensuring that the pickers are able to locate it properly when an order is created. This also helps to ensure that your warehouse is kept tidy, and stock is never lost or missed, reducing losses.
The 80/20 Rule
The 80/20 rule states that 20% of your inventory is likely to be included in 80% of your orders. Generally this 20% of your inventory is kept highly accessible near the shipping and receiving stations, allowing for easy receiving and faster picking. In order to organize your warehouse in this manner, you must first know what products are to be part of this 20%. Which items are your best sellers, or your most-picked items? It may also be helpful to identify items that are frequently purchased together, as these items will likely contribute to orders together.
Providing your warehouse with improved technology can help to ensure that your warehouse runs as efficiently as possible. Often computer or mobile workstations allow for faster and more efficient receiving and shipping of product to and from your warehouse. Other technology being utilized in many warehouses include barcode scanners to reduce mistakes when picking orders, or automated pickers or forklifts which can move heavy items around the warehouse without the need for additional manpower, letting your warehouse personnel focus on other tasks.