Optimising your warehouse to ensure it’s operating efficiently and effectively is a fundamental part of your business’s success and its ability to deliver good customer service, so it pays to review how well it’s currently functioning in order to identify potential areas for improvement.
In this post, we’ll be offering you some essential tips on how to optimise warehouse operations across the supply chain. From logical layouts and storage to defining specific zones, we’ll cover some of the key elements required to help you achieve an agile and streamlined back of house.
Tap into employee insider knowledge
Unless you work in the warehouse on a regular basis and have an intimate understanding of its processes, it’s worthwhile getting an insider view from the staff who work there every day - helping you to gain valuable insights into its current functionality and processes.
Whether you hold a staff meeting to get direct input or opt for an anonymous feedback system, getting their opinions and suggestions on the ways warehouse processes could be improved should give you a clearer view of the day-to-day tasks being carried out. You can then begin to evaluate key areas for improvement and strategies to achieve this.
Consider your layout
The layout of your warehouse can have a direct impact on its efficiency. While making changes to your existing layout can seem like a daunting and disruptive process, making meaningful changes that have a positive impact on its organisation and overall productivity will be worthwhile.
As a starting point, ensure you have designated areas for storage, sorting, packing and shipping, as well as a space for daily administration. Take a logical approach here, providing a natural flow between each department that reflects your order fulfilment process from picking items to transporting them. For instance, locating your packing area next to your shipping zone will ensure orders can be processed quicker. This will also help to minimise any disruption these processes could potentially have on other departments within the warehouse.
Also, take the time to review your sales inventory to identify any seasonal spikes or popular buying trends. With this information, you can look to relocate these high-demand items closer to the sorting, packing and shipping areas, making them easier and quicker for pickers to locate.
Assess your storage
Making full use of the space in your warehouse unit is an essential part of optimising your order fulfillment efficiency. Most warehouses are blessed with high ceilings, which can be an effective method to give your space greater storage capacity, freeing up floor space for sorting, packing and shipping zones in the process.
Of course, in busy warehouse environments health and safety is paramount, so be sure to do thorough risk assessments when reviewing your storage solutions, ensuring high shelving units are safe and secure, as well as appropriately stacked. Choosing sturdy cardboard boxes and wooden pallets that will retain their integrity when placed one on top of the other will help to ensure safe practices are adhered to - minimising the risk of containers or shelving units collapsing.
Introduce an inventory management system
Optimising your storage space and layout is all well and good, but if you want to make full use of these changes, it’s also beneficial to introduce an effective inventory management system. Using a centralised system that maps out stock locations, inventory levels, buying trends and more, will give you and staff members a better handle on current inventory statuses in real time.
Teamed with a clear visual labelling system on aisles and shelves, this robust inventory management system will allow every staff member to quickly locate products, whether that’s for stock replenishment or easy product identification for pickers.
Regardless of the size of your warehouse, we hope these insights will see you on your way to achieving an optimised warehouse floor that prioritises productivity and efficiency at every level.
Of course, you also don’t want to forget to ensure you have ample packaging supplies in stock, so be sure to browse our ranges of cardboard boxes, parcel tape and more to find cost-effective, quality solutions your business can rely on. Have a question about one of our products? Simply get in touch with our expert team today.