10 October 2016

10 Tips on How to Improve Warehouse Management and Operations

A Warehouse Management is largely responsible for the efficient flow of inventory into and out of the warehouse facility. As well as optimising its productivity and ensuring the fulfilment of orders. They are also responsible for keeping overheads at a minimum. These include labour costs and the day-to-day operational costs such as power and distribution.

Here are some useful tips to help improve the warehouse management and operations of your warehouse facility.

1. Trust Online Over Manual.

Using mobile computers with barcode scanners or RFID readers at the receiving dock will immediately identify products on arrival. This will help get the products off the dock quickly and eliminate any errors from manually receiving them. Scanning and RFID technology ensures you’ll avoid mistakes. These mistakes can cause major issues with inventory accuracy and warehouse management.

2. Automatic Data Collection.

It’s surprising that there are still many companies that haven’t implemented automatic data collection. The benefits speak for themselves, not to mention increased productivity and accuracy as well as reduced labour costs. Are your warehouse staff keying codes and numbers into keyboards or writing them on paper? Then it’s time to review your process and investigate how you can move to automatic data collection.

3. Be Transparent and Promote Information Visibility Across your Business.

A well thought out warehouse visibility infrastructure allows for the sharing of information easily. Not only throughout your operation but across the whole company. Good visibility leads to improved warehouse performance with instant access to information on the operations of your facility. This allows for more efficiency and better communications across the business.

4. Invest in a Warehouse Management System.

Smart businesses know that controlling inventory, monitoring time spent on fulfilling orders and keeping abreast of shipping costs is essential for success. Increasing agility, visibility, and labour efficiency are always on the agenda for many successful businesses. The requirement of warehouse management will help to stay on top of these issues. When combined with best practices, a fully functional warehouse management system will manage all resources within the warehouse operation. As a result of that, it will minimise costs.

5. Synchronise Data and Reduce Labour Intensity.

The key to harmonising data flow across complex suites of software applications in any size organisation is to synchronise all data that relates to the common SKU horizontally or vertically within the business. This approach to standardising common product data at the system level and having no barriers to data transformation is fast replacing labour-intensive data integration tasks.

6. Locating Products Quickly Through Bin Locations.

By using distribution software in your warehouse allows for immediate and accurate location of inventory. Bin locations provide the freedom to locate product based on sales volume. Thereby reducing the number of footsteps required to pick those items that show up in the majority of your orders. Without bin locations, there is a requirement of extra time to find products to fulfil orders. As well as spending the time to get used to where the inventory is placed within the warehouse.

7. Keep SKUs In Separate Bin Locations.

By mixing SKUs in the same bin location you will reduce picking productivity. It’s been proven that mixing SKUs in a single bin location creates the need for additional time to pick and fulfil orders. This also can lead to inaccuracies and reduced productivity by up to 15 seconds per pick transaction.

8. Track and Record Inventory Picking.

Occasionally it’s not viable to stock a product. This is especially when it's only picked a few times a year. As the cost of storage can outweigh the revenue it generates. By recording the number of times a product is picked, you can then determine the value of the space where the product resides. From that evaluate whether or not you delete it from your inventory.

9. Help your Business with Accurate Forecasting to Reduce Costs and Improve Inventory Management through Asset Tracking.

It’s a good idea to forecast in any business. It’s a great way to help lower your costs and also ensure great inventory and warehouse management. Good forecasting requires market research to determine the demands of your products at optimal times of the year such as key holiday periods. By forecasting, you can also accurately assess the stock levels throughout the year. So as to ensure you have the appropriate amount of inventory at any time.

10. Implement Electronic Advanced Shipping Notifications.

Relying on traditional shipping and receiving schedule can result in inefficiencies throughout your warehouse operation. As a result of the implementation of electronic shipping notifications, you can plan associated labour with more certainty. Order fulfilment and transportation activities can be adjusted to ensure proper service time requirements are met. Also, transport modes can be optimised to keep costs down.

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