Warehouse management is critical for keeping your customers satisfied and your business running smoothly at all times. It also helps you to ensure quick and accurate shipments. If you are not able to maximize warehouse efficiency, your entire business cycle will get shaken up. As a result, your customers would start complaining about late deliveries, and your sales would begin to drop.
Therefore, keeping a constant check on your warehouse efficiency is crucial for maintaining a healthy business cash flow. If you can handle this business department in an organized way, the rest of the departments will run efficiently.
This article is all about improving warehouse efficiency. But before we get started with that, let’s discuss why improving warehouse efficiency is so important.
Importance of Warehouse Efficiency
Having a well-managed warehouse is suitable for your business. It helps you save money by making the process of managing inventory, selling products, and stocking up relatively cost-effective. This, in turn, enables you to save time, as you can make the best use of your floor space and racking systems. Your customers also remain satisfied since you deliver your orders on time and provide them superb customer service.
Let’s be a bit more specific and discuss why it is so important to improve warehouse efficiency.
1. Make Optimum Use of the Available Space
Products do not usually come in regular-sized packaging. Warehouse efficiency allows you to make optimum use of the available space. This enables the safe storage of goods that come in different sizes and weights.
You can improve warehouse efficiency by having an efficient floor plan, appropriate racking, and designated routes. A good design for a warehouse will provide its staff with safe and quick access to goods. This helps improve cost-effectiveness as well as time management.
Customers need their orders to be delivered to them on time. If your staff can process the orders efficiently, the turnaround time will reduce, making your customers happy with your service.
2. Stock Management
The next thing warehouse efficiency helps with is inventory management. If you have a system that enables you to have clear visibility of stock quantities, you can make appropriate amounts of stock available at the right time for all your goods. This prevents overstocking and wastage, as well as out-of-stock issues. You can maintain a smooth stock flow, which again helps in improving your warehouse efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and customer satisfaction.
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3. Abide by the Health and Safety Requirements
Under the Health and Safety regulations in most countries and states, your warehouse will have regular inspections to check your racking systems and storage facility. Usually, an annual review is recommended for maintaining proper warehouse efficiency.
4. Possibility of Providing Efficient Training
One of the ways to improve warehouse efficiency is to provide professional training to your warehouse staff. The interesting thing is, if you have good warehouse efficiency, it is easier to give effective training to the team within the premises. When you ensure your warehouse managers are adequately trained, they will better understand the operations they are required to conduct. They will be able to resolve any arising issues quickly, without wasting time and resources.
Providing suitable training to your warehouse staff also helps you avoid warehouse accidents. This increases the overall productivity and contributes further to improving warehouse efficiency. Keep your team well informed about the latest technologies, updated processes, and safety procedures that they must follow. They will be better equipped to put up with operational efficiency.
5 Ways to Improve Warehouse Efficiency
Now that you know the importance of maintaining warehouse efficiency, let’s talk about five practical steps you can take to improve warehouse efficiency.
1. Optimize the Space
Instead of expanding the footprint of your warehouse, focus on making better use of the vertical space. This can be done by using taller storage units and other suitable equipment to store goods. This technique can go a long way in giving you more square footage within the same sized warehouse, so you do not have to spend money on expanding the area.
Think about the variety of shelves you can use. If you store small-sized goods on pallet racks, it wastes a lot of space. Use different types and sizes of shelves in your warehouse. Also, use standardized bins to avoid garbage or wastage from piling up and dirtying up the place. Maintain warehouse efficiency by utilizing its vertical space more than its floor space.
2. Keep Lean Inventory
Keeping lean inventory means storing goods in the exact quantity that they are needed. Maintaining lean inventory is not only crucial for maintaining manufacturing productivity but also for maintaining your warehouse efficiency. Do not overstock items that are selling slow. Observe the turnaround time for every item, and keep lean inventory accordingly. Reduce any safety stocks, and work with suppliers that are willing to supply smaller quantities of goods.
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3. Adopt Enabling Technology
Using a warehouse management system can really help you improve warehouse efficiency. If you are running an online store, using an ERP system can significantly enhance your ecommerce warehouse efficiency. These systems can suggest to you the best methods of picking or putting away your stocks. Some of the systems also provide you with automated pick lists, which help you eliminate any mistakes in the process and reduce the wastage of time and paper.
Other technologies like barcode or radio frequency identification can enhance the quality and accuracy of your warehouse transactions. RFID can actually increase your inventory accuracy by 27%, according to the University of Arkansas research.
4. Organize Your Workstations
If your workstations are organized, the productivity levels of your staff will be high, thus keeping your warehouse efficiency high as well. This is because your workers will not have to waste time looking for tools and equipment that they need. You can use the ‘5S’ method to ensure your workstations are operating in an organized way. The 5S method comprises these components.
- Set in order
This method includes all the techniques designed to reduce errors, improve organization, keep clutter at bay, and increase safety.
5. Optimize Labor Efficiency
If your warehouse management system cannot generate good picking plans, you can create them manually. Observe your material usage patterns. Store the items that are available in high volumes towards the front of the warehouse. This eliminates travel time when it’s time to move out those items. Items that usually sell together should be placed close to each other. These are ways to streamline your warehouse operations so that you can eliminate picking delays and improve warehouse efficiency.
Improving warehouse efficiency is not so difficult after all. It is more about using common sense and using the right storage equipment. It is not about studying fancy algorithms to figure out how to store your goods. It is just about reducing wastage of time and energy by all possible means.
If you run an eCommerce store, you can use most of these techniques to improve the efficiency of your eCommerce warehouse. A simple way to run an eCommerce store is to build it on Strikingly.
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Strikingly is a website-building platform with tons of pre-designed templates that you can readily use for your website. You can either select a template designed for an online store or build a regular website on another template and add a Simple Store section. There you can upload your product photos and create product pages. Customers will be given a variety of payment gateways to make their purchases.
For managing your inventory or your eCommerce warehouse, you can use our order management system that helps you keep track of all your orders and their current status. You do not need to be a master at inventory management to sell from a Strikingly website. We make it easy for you by providing you with all the data organized and systematic form.
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Our goal at Strikingly is to enable our users to make as many sales for their business as possible. It is great to see our users’ businesses grow to keep on updating our platform to add more and more user-friendly features to it. Building and running a website has never been more accessible! Signup for your account on Strikingly today, and start building your eCommerce site without having to write a single line of code.