Everyone knows the warehouse is a critical cog in the operation of any company. After all, it’s where products are stored and shipped out to customers. A cumbersome or inefficient warehouse can lead to order fulfilment delays that directly impact customer retention and revenue.
To avoid being caught off-guard by inefficiencies in your warehouse again, you must understand precisely how much space you’re using and which areas need work. Here are 6 ways to improve the efficiency of your warehouse and get your operations back on track.
Change the layout of your aisles
One of the easiest ways to make your warehouse more efficient is to change the layout of your aisles. If your warehouse is laid out to accommodate specific product flows, you’ll be able to move more quickly. If you’re about to start a new warehouse or have the chance to redesign an existing one, look at the way products flow through the facility and think about how to best optimise the aisles to suit those flows.
Repurpose unused areas of your warehouse
No matter how efficient your warehouse is, there’s bound to be some unused space. Thoroughly investigate how every square inch of your warehouse is being used and adapt the flow and layout of the aisles and workstations to help you improve flow, increase storage and maximise space in a way that helps employees get the job done easier.
Use robotic automation and artificial intelligence
Warehouse automation is a topic that frequently comes up in warehouse efficiency discussions. The idea is to install robots to take over the most boring, repetitive tasks. While this isn’t a perfect solution for every warehouse, it’s something to consider. Robots can easily lift, move, and stack products, which frees workers to do more critical tasks, such as inspection and inventory management.
Regarding inventory management, it’s also possible to use artificial intelligence to automate the inventory process. You can install an automatic sorting system if your warehouse is large enough and your products are tagged with RFID tags. This system uses cameras to identify inventory and sort it into different containers.
To say that inventory is critical to the success of any company would be an understatement. It’s the lifeblood of any business. However, not all inventory is created equal. Some products are more valuable than others. However, if you’re holding onto low-value and high-cost products, that could be eating into your efficiency in a big way.
If you’re not sure which products are worth keeping in stock and which ones could be eliminated, it’s time to take inventory. Start by taking inventory of everything in your warehouse. Then, evaluate each product to see if it’s worth keeping in stock.
Make use of data analytics
When it comes to the future of warehousing, data analytics is the name of the game. From inventory management systems to shipping and tracking apps, businesses are increasingly taking advantage of data analytics to make their warehouses more efficient. If you’re not currently using data analytics to manage your warehouse, it’s time to start.
You can use analytics to track the time it takes to move products through your warehouse, identify areas where bottlenecks occur, track the amount of time it takes employees to complete specific tasks, etc. Data analytics can help you discover pain points in your warehouse that you might not have noticed otherwise. Once you know where the issues lie, you can work to find ways to improve the situation.
Optimise Labour Efficiency
If you’ve tried everything on this list and your warehouse is still too inefficient, it may be time to reevaluate your workforce. When you’re trying to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, one of the most accessible places to start is by reducing the time it takes employees to complete tasks such as preparing for a pallet collection, packing orders or receiving inventory.
To do this, you can first ensure that employees use the right tools for their jobs. This includes devices like headsets, appropriate clothing, and gloves. You can also implement a buddy system that pairs new employees with veterans to help them learn the ropes quickly. You can also establish clear pathways and workflows so that employees know exactly what they need to do and in what order they need to do it.
Warehouses are essential to the success of any company. With suitable warehouse management systems, these areas can run smoothly and efficiently. However, warehouses can quickly become overwhelmed if they aren’t adequately managed. If you notice inefficient warehouse management, try implementing some tips to improve your warehouse operations.