Warehouse operations best practices

To get the most from your warehouse or distribution center, it is critical to establish and then implement applicable best practices to reduce costs and streamline workflow. Managing warehouse operations is a complex and evolving task to ensure efficient flow of products, fulfilling orders, keeping product sufficiently stocked but not overstocked, optimizing the facility's physical layout, keeping labor and overhead costs in check, and of course ensuring profitability.

It all comes down to increasing productivity and maintaining a smooth supply chain flow while minimizing expenses. Although warehouse operations management is an intricate web of moving parts, you can harness an array of efficiencies to reduce costs while improving customer satisfaction. Let's take a closer look at how to make this happen by dialing in ideal warehouse practices.

Warehouse picking

The use of standardized storage containers are a great way to simplify order fulfillment and makes it much easier to find and store materials. You won't need a fleet of handling equipment, pickers save time looking for that equipment, and your warehouse maintains a neat and organized look.

Bin locations are also a big help to ensure all pallets and bins of product are distributed to their assigned locations. This goes a long way in minimizing lost and misplaced inventory and saves time wandering the facility looking for material. A complementing practice is the use of clearly labeled product that can easily be read by scanners to help minimize errors.

Warehouse organization

Warehouse space doesn't come cheap and as such it is important to glean the maximum use from every square foot. This might entail investing in more or newer equipment but in the long you will dramatically reduce operational and inventory costs while boosting the efficiency of overall picking and packing processes.

Automation will help you reach that goal and automated options are readily available. Barcodes, RFID tags and a variety of related technology specific to your inventory allows accurate counts and locations. Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) are very popular method to reduce warehouse operations costs and also lets you ship a higher volume of orders.

Of course, a comprehensive warehouse management system is only as good as its efficiency. You will need a solid plan in place to smoothly consolidate orders while slashing picking time and you can integrate this with your overall inventory management system to ramp up order accuracy and reduce cost at the same time.

Inventory management

Integrating your AS/RS and warehouse management solutions dramatically increases their combined talents, making your management chores much cleaner and setting the stage for error-free orders, higher efficiency, and a more productive environment. The best way to see this come to light in your facility is to implement AS/RS and WMS solutions that are specifically designed to work together; this saves you the time and cost of doing it yourself and allows you to focus more on your facility's specific operational needs.

For more information on warehouse best practices, contact the team at Overflo Warehouse at (800) 626-0616 or overflow.com.

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