If your sales department is the heart of your business, then the warehouse is its workhorse. Both of them need to be working efficiently if you want to provide an impeccable level of customer service. The warehouse is much more than a place where items for sale or raw materials are stocked. It is a critical part of your operation that must always be keeping close track of inventory coming in and shipments leaving the facility. If it is allowed to fall into inefficiency, the entire business operation will be affected.
How to Improve Efficiency in the Warehouse
There are many ways you can give your warehouse efficiency a boost. The following tips represent a few suggestions in this area.
- Invest in exhaustive employee training.
You can add the most modern processes and technologies to your warehouse that exist today. They won’t give you the benefits you are looking for if your team members don’t fully understand them or how to use them effectively.
It’s not enough to invest time and resources into initial training. Your employee training plan should also include refresher training so that your employees feel comfortable using the tools and technology that have been provided for them to work with. The training programs should emphasize that safety is always a priority in the workplace, even as the company is trying to become more efficient.
2. Make the most use of all available space in the warehouse.
Expanding your warehouse’s square footage may not be practical at present due to budget restrictions or a simple lack of availability. Rather than focus on the lack of new square footage available, you can get creative and look up to find solutions. Add higher shelves and storage units to make the most of the available vertical space. Use the right equipment to make access to items stored on high shelves an easy process.
Before storing items, consider where they will be placed. Use different types and styles of shelving and racks for different sizes of products. By ensuring that each item is stored in a location that closely matches its size, you are not wasting any available space.
3. Adopt a policy of lean inventory.
Don’t overstock your warehouse by keeping more than you need at any one time. Talk to your suppliers about delivering stock more frequently to avoid running out of popular items you are more likely to run out of quickly. It doesn’t hurt to ask whether a supplier will lower (or eliminate) the necessity of minimum quantities for orders.
4. Schedule set times for receiving inventory from your suppliers.
If you are shipping and receiving from the same area, it is essential to have a schedule for receiving inventory from suppliers. Otherwise, there will be times when the dock is relatively quiet and others when your team is trying to have outbound shipments leave your facility at the same time that drivers are attempting to deliver their loads of product.
This is a situation that is bound to be stressful for all involved. It can be avoided by assigning a set schedule to your suppliers to make deliveries on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. Request that any necessary paperwork is forwarded in advance so that your team knows exactly what is being delivered. You will be able to schedule employees appropriately so that your dock area is cleared quickly as well.
5. Unpack and stock shipments promptly.
Once inventory deliveries are on a schedule, it becomes important to avoid procrastinating when putting shipments away. Take the time to unpack the shipments and put them into stock right away. Otherwise, your inventory is not up to date. You could have customers waiting for orders for items that are sitting waiting to be put away and they won’t understand why their orders aren’t being filled. This is the type of oversight that leads to customer service issues and lost sales.
6. Review your warehouse systems regularly.
You won’t be able to keep a handle on how well your warehouse systems are performing unless you make a point of reviewing them regularly. Run reports to find out which changes are working well and where you need to continue making changes to improve your warehouse efficiency.
Acumatica Cloud ERP gives you a complete view of your business in real-time so that you and your management team can make better-informed decisions. To discover more, contact us today to arrange your consultation with an accounting and ERP expert.