As a participant in the supply chain, efficiency matters - and not just for your own operations. Your efficiency impacts all your supply chain partners further down the line, so it's critical to get a better handle on warehouse management so that you can all take that next step forward together.
Adopting even a few of the following keys to warehouse management success should pay off significantly for all involved:
1) Always plan ahead
While surprises and complications are certainly a fact of life in any business, that's often even more true of the logistics industry, according to All Things Supply Chain. As a consequence, it would be wise to start planning your business setup at least a few months in advance. That way, you always have at least some picture of what you'll need to do, from ordering more of a certain item to adding staff or taking the time to train employees.
At the same time as you are doing your long-term planning, however, the unpredictability of many aspects of this business mean you need to expect the unexpected as well, All Things Supply Chain advised. Circumstances in this sector aren't always ideal and any supply chain managers worth their salt have contingency plans in place - and contingencies on those contingencies - for when shipments fall through or manufacturing delays arise.
3) Reduce reliance on paper
All too often, warehouses rely on a mix of digital processes (such as inventory management) and paper (as with packing slips) - and that can lead to inefficiency in a major way, according to 6 River Systems. The more you can do to transition your processes to being entirely digital, the better off you, your employees, your partners and your customers will be, because this can significantly reduce errors and free up a lot of time.
4) Crunch the numbers
Of course, investing in more digitally based processes costs money, and you need to understand how much you will have to put into such an effort before taking the leap, 6 River Systems said. However, when you price these investments, you also need to keep in mind that they will likely provide a lot of financial benefit in the long run, effectively paying for themselves, so you'll have to do some math to figure out when you'll reach that break-even point. It may be sooner than you think.
5) Communicate with your staffers
When you're initiating any changes to your warehouse processes, it's important to keep your staff in the loop, according to industry expert Joe Crews, writing on LinkedIn. That way, all involved can be prepared for the potentially significant changes you're going to put into place, and you can begin to craft all appropriate trainings so that when you actually start using new tech or processes, it's far easier to hit the ground running. In addition, it might be wise to talk to those workers beforehand to get a better understanding of their view of the situation.