If you are working or you have worked in the supply chain industry before, you can understand that a good supply chain management plan can make the difference!
Especially, the warehouse facilities need an organised supply chain management as they handle many products that come and go every day.
So, what can you do to improve all operations in your warehouse?
- Start with Warehouse Safety Protocol: Make your warehouse the safest place on earth. I know that it may be expensive, and that you have other things in mind, but make safety your priority and you will not lose. In the long run, you will see that all these precautions and regulations will pay off. Many safety related issues will be easier to solve if you live by the rules, while your employees will feel secure and they will be working efficiently.
- Communicate with your employees: Effective communication can be proven a really powerful tool when it comes to the management of warehouse operations. Open and clear communication has a positive effect on the employees’ productivity. People feel better and they are more likely to perform well in an environment where they feel welcomed to participate. I would recommend you to schedule regular meetings with your employees and managers to discuss the goals of the business, the current processes and how you can improve the working environment. Your employees are dealing everyday with the warehouse systems, thus any feedback is valuable to you, as it can show you another, more efficient way, of operating.
- Vertical space should be used: When allocating the products to your warehouse space, make sure to use all the available space. And that means, not only wall to wall, but also floor to ceiling. The use of vertical space can help you store more products in your warehouse. Pallet racking is one of the most used solutions and one of the easiest to use. You can arrange your warehouse space is such a way, that you will achieve maximum space efficiency with minimum risk of errors. You can use scalable components and conveyor belts that will enable your workers to move a product easily and quickly.
- Make use of automatic data collection and synchronization: Many warehouse centres are using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and running bar codes to collect data automatically and reduce the time spent on gathering data manually. These systems have the benefits of reducing the likelihood of errors, minimizing the paperwork while they require minimum training. New data on new or existing products can be stored directly from the suppliers, alongside the older data, improving visibility and minimizing the risk of duplicating information. This database, will help you keep track of your new and old orders while managing the warehouse space accordingly.
- Conduct ABC Analysis: An ABC analysis can be defined as the hierarchy of the most valuable items to the least valuable in terms of dollar value. The A stands for the most important, while C stands for the least important item. Doing an ABC analysis, will save you a lot of time and trouble for deciding where you should store your products and how you should allocate your resources. You have a clear understanding on what products you should focus on and what products are not so important for the time being. There are some steps to have in mind, if you want to conduct an ABC analysis: 1) You need to determine annual sales for each item, 2) You need to determine the percentage of the total sales of each item, 3)You should rank these items starting from the one with the highest percentage to the one with the least percentage, 4)Finally, classify the items into groups
- Ongoing Cycle Count: Cycle counting is a counting solution that enables businesses like yours, to count a number of items in some of the warehouse areas and infer these conclusions to the inventory of the entire warehouse. You can schedule a weekly or monthly inventory counting for certain areas of the warehouse and benefit from minimizing costs and reducing time spent to complete the process. Further, the results will be more accurate, as people tend to make less mistakes when they focus on a smaller area than when they count the whole warehouse.
- Dynamic Slotting: Use of dynamic slotting means that the location of products changes according to the demand. If you keep placing products with high demand on visible and easy-to-pick locations, then you will save so much time from searching and moving your products over and over again.
- Cross Docking:You can always eliminate any unnecessary steps in your warehouse management. One thing that you can do, if applicable, is to load products from one transportation container to another, without using an intermediate bin. You can leverage on this method to load your products quickly, achieve more efficient lead times and satisfy your customers. Cross docking is mostly used on LTL shipments, and it can help you reduce the transportation costs while retaining current customers.
- Use Unique Tracking Numbers: Instead of using the same serial numbers for different products, you can create another tracking system with unique numbers for every product. You won’t have to take care of the confusion of identifying the product that you want and your employees will be able to quickly resolve all the issues with the duplication of numbers and goods.
- Create an efficient process for returned goods: Product returns is something that no one can avoid and they can cause issues to the management of your warehouse. But, if you plan your next steps properly, then you have nothing to fear. What you need to do, is firstly, to identify each product, secondly, assign it for disposition and finally, store it for processing. I know that this may sound hard to implement, however there are systems that can help you with all this work. Warehouse Management Systems can resolve all the issues with the returned items and also control many other difficult operations.
- Leverage on technology: The use of technology could not be missing, if you want an efficient warehouse management. You always need to adapt and embrace technological advances, because if you do this, then it is likely that your company will benefit from higher profitability and a competitive advantage. You can use technology in many ways. There are wrist-mounted barcode units, pick-to-light systems and voice pick that can facilitate and accelerate the picking process. Further, you can use different picking methods, such as zone picking and batch picking, that will increase your efficiency. You can even try a bolder approach, by using artificial intelligence and smart robots to manage the entire warehouse. Finally, drones can help you monitor the quality and the location of the goods in the warehouse.
I hope that this article gave you some useful ideas on how to change your warehouse management in order to achieve higher efficiency. You can see that, innovation plays, once again, an important role in the supply chain industry. Innovation can reduce the cost while providing maximum efficiency for your company and your employees.
At Haulystic, we understand that our customers want a simple and transparent shipping. We care about your cargo and about your business and this is why we tailor all the logistic solutions according to your requirements. Your feedback is valuable to us. We need you to help us become better, so we can help you!
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