Companies lose billions of dollars every year due to warehouse issues—even juggernauts like Amazon deal with warehouse inefficiencies. Your business doesn’t have to suffer from these problems, though.
Improving your warehouse operations is easier than you might think. There are many simple strategies you can use to maximize warehouse efficiency, protecting your business from major losses.
This article will teach you how to revolutionize your warehouses from the ground up. Keep reading to learn seven ways you can optimize warehouse operations for your business.
- Emphasize Cleanliness
A messy workplace can cause accidents and distractions. That’s especially true in a warehouse, where forklifts and other machinery operate. Cleaning up your space can increase warehouse productivity.
Old boxes and pallets get in the way, forcing employees to waste time navigating around them. Get rid of these items as soon as possible–don’t let them stack up and cause problems.
Be wary of dirt and dust, too. They irritate your workers and can also damage your products. You don’t want to lose customers because you’re shipping dirty items.
Maintaining a clean warehouse protects your employees as well. Many worksite accidents are caused by spills and trips; by cleaning up the detritus around your warehouse, you can prevent accidents before they happen.
- Simplify Your Layout
An efficient warehouse plan allows you to get the most out of your warehouse space. It should be easy for your workers to navigate the warehouse and find the products they need.
To design an efficient warehouse, you need to look at your products. Figure out which items you’re selling the most. Then, make it easy to find and retrieve those items; place them near your shipping and receiving zone.
Work through your entire inventory, prioritizing the placement for high-selling items. You’ll cut down on the time it takes to fulfill orders of common purchases, streamlining your fulfillment process.
Mark out travel lanes to ensure that forklifts can navigate your warehouse quickly. Work to avoid bottlenecks, especially around popular items.
- Maximize Your Storage
Storage space is one of the most important aspects of a warehouse–you want to fit the most inventory possible in the area you have available. There are several ways to get more out of your warehouse space.
Vertical space is a valuable resource in any warehouse. You have high ceilings–take advantage of them! Buy tall storage racks so you can safely stack and hold more inventory.
While you’re at it, invest in deeper racks. Changing your storage medium can help you better utilize your space.
You can also try narrowing your aisles. That will allow you to fit more aisles into your warehouse, but be careful—you need to make sure that you still have room for your forklifts to maneuver.
- Integrate TMS Software
Transport management systems (or TMS) help you plan your logistics more efficiently. You can combine them with other programs to boost your warehouse productivity.
TMS software helps you plan better delivery routes, automate runs, and more. Your deliveries will go faster, which speeds up your entire operation.
You can integrate TMS software directly into your warehouse system, putting all the tech you need into one convenient package. Integrated systems help you manage your warehouse workers and your drivers at the same time.
Buying a combined TMS and warehouse package can save you money since you’ll only need one program instead of two. Check out this guide to learn more.
- Upgrade Your Training
There’s one factor that many people overlook when trying to improve warehouse operations: the employees. Upgrading your building and equipment is important, but you need to invest in your workers.
Examine your training programs. How could you improve them? Think about common problems within your warehouse and figure out how to address those issues during employee training.
Training should be a continuous process. As your warehouse continues to change and evolve, your workforce should, too. Keep employees updated on new equipment and software that your warehouse integrates.
Keep training sessions short; try not to go longer than an hour at a time. Have direct supervisors carry out the training–it’s a good opportunity for them to build a relationship with the employees.
- Get Employee Feedback
Who knows the most about your warehouse operations? The employees who are picking and shipping products every day. They understand nuances of your operation that a manager might not be aware of.
Always listen to employee feedback. A forklift driver can tell you if one of your lifts has problems; pickers will let you know if certain items are being stored inefficiently. You can learn a lot by listening to their advice.
Encouraging and acting on employee feedback also strengthens your relationship with your workers. If an employee comes to you with a complaint and you address it, they’ll know you value their opinion.
That leads to higher trust from your employees, which boosts their productivity and helps them take pride in their work.
- Continually Adjust
The most important thing to remember about increasing your warehouse efficiency is that it’s a never-ending process. Even after doing everything on this list, you aren’t done optimizing your warehouse.
As we said earlier, your warehouse is constantly changing. You’ll get new inventory, certain products will start to sell more, you’ll update software and equipment… when these things happen, you’ll have to make changes to compensate.
Revisit your warehouse plan every few months. Are you still using the most efficient layout? Do you have some new tech that you need to train your employees on? Are some of your changes not working as planned?
If you keep at it, you’ll keep improving your operations, no matter how much your warehouse changes.
Improve Your Warehouse Operations
Efficient warehouse operations are a crucial part of any successful business plan. By cleaning and updating your warehouse, working closely with your staff, and integrating the latest tech, you can optimize your operations.
Automation and cutting-edge software are ideal methods for improving warehouse efficiency, but the benefits don’t end there. Visit our tech blog for more info on the newest gadgets your business can use to succeed!