It’s not easy managing a warehouse. Form dealing with difficult suppliers and distributors, to keeping your employees safe, it can wear on a person. What makes things even harder though is inefficiency. Every minute you waste trying to find a piece of equipment or a specific crate is money sent down the drain. Every second spent in this manner increase the chances of somebody rushing to do their job, and risking an injury. For these reasons and many others, we warmly advise you to focus on managing your inventory better. Below you can find some tips on how to do just that.
Always have a plan ready
You need a proper plan and strategy if you want to be as efficient as you can. Depending on what goods you work with the most, you will notice that certain parts of the year are busier than others. This means you will have to plan and act accordingly.
So, sit down, and reflect on your logs a year or two back. Then, create game plans for you and your employees. Invest extra time and effort into having things go your way properly. Furthermore, set up emergency plans in general. You shouldn’t have to think at all if an emergency (both in terms of safety or extra lucrative work) occurs. With a good plan, you and your employees are only supposed to act.
This doesn’t so much directly help you manage your inventory better as it does help you avoid mistakes. You won’t have to work so hard at getting things back to normal after an emergency period if you already organized things you usually do.
It’s all about optimization
Don’t just haphazardly organise your warehouse, actually put some thought into. As long as you maintain warehouse safety, your main focus should always be efficiency and optimization. You should do this in two ways. First, you need to consider how your people are supposed to move in the most efficient way around your warehouse. The second is proper categorization of goods.
Namely, you want your people to know exactly where a certain item is at all times. You also want them to know how to reach it in the fastest way possible. There should be a continual, uninterrupted flow between the receiving of the items, their handling and transpiration, and finally assembly/and or storage. The smoother the transitions are between every activity, the more efficient people will be. Try to set up the aisles and the storage areas in such a way as to not have one activity interrupt another.
Always get the best equipment
First of all, don’t make the common mistake of getting the best, most modern gear possible, without having the basics down. You want the right forklifts, sturdy stacks, well-made wire bins, useful pallets… Basically, high-quality electronics doesn’t mean much when your stacks are falling apart. Things like that will drop efficiency like nothing else. However, we do advise you invest as much as you can into new technology. Namely, new equipment means fewer repairs, extra features, and most often lower energy costs.
Try out different logistical systems
There are numerous approaches to logistics within warehouses. While defining them is outside the scope of this article, we will mention a few that you should read a bit on. Namely, you can go with wave picking, which is great for warehouses that have a lot of inventory to go through, but that also are ready to implement the newest software and technology. Cross-docking is another choice. This lessens the work a warehouse has to do as far as storage is concerned, but it makes distribution and handling much harder.
Train your employees properly
Too many warehouse owners think that the reason they have lower efficiency due to a lack of employees. The real reason is that most often these employees are simply not trained as well as they could be. With the right training your people can learn how to use the latest technology. Furthermore, they will learn special techniques and improve their skills in general. You won’t lose any time on your people simply trying to figure things out on their own.
Furthermore, this will increase employee morale. Know that motivating your warehouse employees is pretty much a guarantee that your efficiency will skyrocket. You will also create a much more positive work environment, and may even attract top talent to your company.
Higher efficiency in a warehouse means more money and less work for everybody. In other words, it stands to reason that you want to do everything you power to improve it. We suggest you focus on your employees and train them properly. Furthermore, always have a plan in place, both for emergencies and amazing offers. Experiment with logistical systems, and always seek out places where you can optimize your warehouse a bit more. And of course, invest in the best equipment you can afford.