From a logical standpoint, it makes sense to organize a warehouse based on product type. Workers can easily locate products based on the category they fall in, which improves efficiency levels across the board. Nevertheless, there are probably some products in the warehouse that get moved more often than others because they sell well or their demand is steady. Consider rearranging your warehouse to make these products more accessible so you don't lose time moving them from one side of the warehouse to the other. As long as you inform your pickers about the changes, they will still be able to find the products in a short amount of time.
What do your customers have to say about your warehouse? Do they believe they are being properly cared for, or are there areas they think you can improve on? If you have direct communication with some of your top customers, have a discussion with them directly to see what they have to say about your business operations. You could also create a survey to send out to your customers and see what sort of feedback you get in return.
In any business, you have to be aware of your competition. This will show you what you're up against and give you insight into what your customers may expect from you in the future. By no means should you send spies into another warehouse, but you should review their services to see what they offer their customers. For instance, if they offer order fulfillment and you only offer logistics, you may explore expanding your services to keep up with your competitors. You may already exceed the competition ten-fold, but you won't know that without checking them out.
Think about what you could do to reduce your turnaround times. Are there any services in particular that seem to slow down the process? The problem could stem from just about anything – not having the right software, not using the right equipment, not hiring enough employees to get the job done, etc. Here at Overflo, we have improved our efficiency levels to provide quick turnarounds on sea containers, thanks largely in part to our location near all marine and rail terminals in Baltimore. Even if you cannot change your location, you may be able to make another adjustment to cut down on your turnarounds.
In this case, "dead weight" refers to anything that may be preventing your warehouse from performing at an optimum level. Employees, equipment, software, and operation strategies all play a role in the productivity of your warehouse. If you have more space than you can logically fill, find something to do with it. If you have more employees than your demand supports, make the necessary cuts to boost your profits. Expansion is a lot easier than reduction, but sometimes, you have to eliminate excess expenses to better your business as a whole. Think about this and the other suggestions in this two part guide as you move through the new year, and your warehouse will be performing at its best in no time.
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