The following blog comes to us from Megan Ray Nichols of Schooled By Science.
Running a warehouse is never easy. Keeping everything moving is a major logistical task that requires good planning, foresight and skill managing people. Some warehouses run more efficiently than others. It may be how the floor is planned or how the operation is managed, but there is always room for improvement when it comes to efficiency.
Here are nine tips you need to know to make your warehouse as efficient as possible.
1. Schedule Regular Upkeep and CountsIf you're not already, you should be scheduling regular counts of the goods you have and inspect for damage.
Partial-count techniques like cycle counting can also be used if it's not possible or practical to count your entire inventory at regular intervals. You should also perform additional tallies of high-value and high-risk stock.
2. Optimize Your LayoutMaximize the square footage you have. Consider how products will flow through the warehouse floor. Go vertical if there is enough ceiling clearance. If possible, you can also bring in professionals to help you make your use of space more efficient. Another set of eyes on the floor will always be helpful. Their experience may pick out some unoptimized section of the warehouse where traffic isn't flowing as well as it could.
3. Regulate Floor TrafficEven if your warehouse's floor layout is already optimized for the flow of goods, traffic can still be interrupted if you don't plan correctly.
Try to keep people who don't need to be on the floor off it. When organizing the traffic flow and layout of the warehouse, make sure you're not sending anyone out that doesn't need to be there. From receiving to shipping, keep business transactions and staff away from the flow of goods through the warehouse.
4. Use a Warehouse Management System (WMS)You don't need to be the only one figuring out how to make your warehouse as efficient as it can be. Use technology like a warehouse management system (or WMS) to help you manage internal logistics. A WMS can help you with floor layout, analyze current stocks, and demand and assist with inter-facility communication.
If you're not currently using a WMS, integrating one may take some time. The benefits, however, are almost certain to outweigh the short-term adjustments.