Want your warehouse to run more efficiently? That’s one of the most common goals any business owner can have – to do more by using less. By delving into your operations and analyzing your distribution center as a whole, you can explore flaws that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential. To give you a head start the matter, here are four ways to improve warehouse operating efficiency.
Adopt Lean Inventory Practices
Maintaining a lean inventory means that you only keep around what you actually need and nothing more. This gives your workers fewer products to sift through when organizing freight, completing order fulfillment services, and more. Try reducing your safety stocks, if possible, or see if you can get your suppliers to deliver smaller loads a more frequent basis. As long as the costs add up correctly, you can greatly improve your efficiency with a lean inventory.
Make Use of Vertical Space
One of the biggest hurdles that warehousing operators have to overcome is running out of room to put the products they’re storing. Before you consider expanding your warehouse horizontally, think about the vertical space you may be missing out on. With taller shelving systems and equipment designed to pick and store materials a higher level, you can optimize your workspace and get the most money possible out of your storage facility.
Note that you may need to adjust the types of racks you use to accommodate different materials in your warehouse. The better equipped your facility is, the easier it will be for your workers to complete their jobs.
Organize Your Workstations
You should have standards in place to ensure your workers can find the tools and equipment they need whenever they need it. Encourage your employees to maintain a well-organized work station, and make sure those work stations stay organized between shift changes. For instance, you may ask your employees to clean up their stations during the last 10 minutes of their shifts so the next round of workers can come into a fresh environment. This small sacrifice of time, combined with a proper organization system, will do wonders for your efficiency levels.
Invest in a Good Warehouse Management System
Having a strong warehouse management system (WMS) is a crucial part of running an efficient warehouse. With the help of modern technology, you can notice big changes to be made in your warehouse that may not have been visible to the naked eye. Your WMS will suggest the best routes for picking and packing in your warehouse, and it can generate pick lists for mobile readers that your workers use the floor. This creates a real-time communication system that virtually eliminates the possibility for human error.
Keep in mind that your WMS may not be 100% suited for your warehousing needs. There are cases where you will still need to manually create an efficient picking plan for your facility. As long as you keep an eye out for problems as they arise, you can ensure that your warehouse operates at its highest capacity.