Warehouse managers know that the task of managing operations for a warehouse facility is far from straightforward. They’re tasked with ensuring the efficient flow of products in and out of the facility, optimizing the warehouse’s layout, making sure orders are fulfilled and products are in stock, but not overstocked. If that’s not enough they have to ensure profitability and minimizing overhead and labor costs. They have their work cut out for them. Here’s some tips to help them out.
Warehouse Operations Tips
1. Use automatic data collection. The benefits of automatic data collection via barcode and radio frequency identification (RFID) are well-established, including increased productivity and accuracy and lower labor costs. Amazingly, there are plenty of companies that haven’t implemented automatic data collection.
“Some organizations with 30,000 or 40,000 item numbers and multiple facilities are still convinced they’re better off without technology” – Denny McKnight, President and CEO of Tompkins Associates Inc.
2. Don’t rely on manual data entry processes. Use mobile computers with barcode scanners or RFID readers. With these technologies you’ll avoid the mistakes that wreak havoc with inventory accuracy and eat up time and resources to fix.
3. Promote information visibility company-wide. It’s imperative that a warehouse offers a visibility infrastructure that allows shared information throughout their operation and across the company.
4. Use bin locations to quickly locate products. Hot movers specifically.
5. Record the number of times the inventory is picked during specific time frames. You can determine the value of the space where the inventory resides
6. Handle tasks efficiently and expediently. Putting it off will only allow the task to become an even larger beast, waiting for your attention.
7. Implement lean warehouse operations practices. Reduced lead times in warehousing can include: – Lean Warehouse Operations, Four Principles
✓ Reduction in material handling time in order picking, put away, palletizing and shipping.
✓ Reliability of information to coordinate the rest of the supply chain.
✓ Reduction in truck and containers loading and unloading times.
✓ Reduction in time spent checking and looking for inventory.
✓ Increased flexibility to adapt to changing market conditions and customer specifications.
8. Conduct an analysis. A system to help categorize your inventory by value. This is also referred to as the Inventory Categorization Method.
9. Utilize cross-docking wherever possible. Think of this as “Just-in-Time” shipping. Cross-docking is an ideal solution when product freshness is paramount.
10. Warehouse safety a top priority. A safe warehouse environment delivers important cost savings through higher employee satisfaction and increased productivity, fewer workplace disruptions and reduced absenteeism and equipment downtime.
11. Clear aisles make for an efficient safe flow of inventory.
12. Best-practice companies manage the put-away area by calculating resource and space requirements based on expected receipts and current backlogs.
13. Establish stable warehouse operations within the warehouse first, then work to improve pre-planning efforts.
14. Use your WMS software to sequence orders and organize the workflow.
15. Make smart use of floor space. Do you really need more floor space or organize your existing better?
16. Reduce order processing cycle time. Typical total order cycle time inefficiencies: 6 percent of the time can be wasted while people deal with problems like waiting for lift equipment, computer issues, interruptions, and blocked aisles. 56.1 percent of the time orders set idle. How does your warehouse stack up? Do you even know?
“Don’t wait until the annual physical inventory count comes to perform regular inventory control audits. Perform cycle counts and analyze their discrepancies to perfect the time it should take you to go through all locations.” – Andy Eastes
17. Maintain constant, consistent communication with vendors.
18. Achieve inventory analysis efficiency. By developing and using a comprehensive set of tools to closely monitor the performance of your inventory, you can achieve more of your goals more efficiently.
Of course there are many more items to discuss in warehouse management. Software tools for example. Coolearth Software offers total plant management software solutions that can make light work of inefficiencies in your warehouse. Solutions all working in unison for complete digital information real-time and historical. Contact us to learn more.