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8 Tips To Improve Warehouse Efficiency

Last updated on March 29th, 2024 at 11:52 am

According to a 2021 Business Wire study, around 88% of warehouses lack technology or automation to help them improve efficiency and productivity, meaning that operations are lacking and time and money are being lost due to not working as efficiently as possible.

If you’re looking for ways to improve productivity within the warehouse and remove inefficiencies, you need to look at what is possible within your industry and how you are running day-to-day to help you make appropriate changes.

Review All Processes

Before you do anything else, you need to take a step back and look at all of the processes you currently have in place. How well are they working? Are they helping or hindering staff and production, and what is causing the most time and issues?

Then, match the results to the processes to see what impact each is having and whether it’s essential. Once you have pinpointed all these processes and results, you can look at what alternative methods you can implement and what you can remove to help you work better and faster. 

However, avoid making too many changes at once, or you won’t be able to see the impact each different one is making to allow you to monitor results to see if it helps or if you need to go back to the drawing board.

Address The Layout

One major factor that can impact how well you run your warehouse is the layout. It might be that you have grown over time, and what once worked for you is no longer suitable, so you need to rearrange the layout. Or it might be that you didn’t put enough thought into the layout before starting up, and now it’s affecting your output.

You need to look at where everything is placed and how easy it is to access critical points in the chain, from receiving products to putting them in the right place and picking orders ready to ship out. If it doesn’t flow, then it’s definitely costing you time and money, and you will need to reconfigure the layout.

Use The Right Equipment

When was the last time you updated the equipment you used? If you’re not using the right equipment or don’t have suitable tools in the warehouse to make life easier, then chances are you’re making things more complicated than they need to be. You need to equip your employees with the right tools to complete their jobs regardless of their role within your warehouse.

This includes using lifting equipment to access stock on high shelves, reducing the number of staff who use ladders and waste time climbing, investing in mini skid steer equipment and attachments for your forklifts, identifying what you need and who needs it, and implementing it to make things easier.

Implement Technology

Technology can help you revolutionize your work and improve standards and results. From using barcodes to identify and track products, pick-to-label, and vice versa, activated technologies can again enhance the efficiency and productivity of your warehouse. If you’re not automating what you do and putting technology in action to reduce major barriers and, then it goes without saying that its likely you aren’t running at full capacity.

Technology is evolving constantly, and you need to keep your finger on the pulse of what is emerging in your sector of work so you can keep pushing forward and improving productivity.

Reduce Shipping Errors

Shipping errors can impact your productivity and your bottom line. If your staff make errors at the warehouse’s shipping point, you will be wasting resources money, and time, as you will need to repeat actions and deal with the mistakes being made. On top of this, you will also put yourself at risk of reduced customer satisfaction and potentially loss of custom if you aren’t getting your parcels to the right customer or they are arriving damaged or not at all.

Train Staff

Your warehouse can only run efficiently if your employees have the tools, skills, and knowledge to do the job properly. If you’re putting them to work on the warehouse floor without training or ensuring they know what they’re doing and how to do things correctly, then chances are things won’t be going the way you want them to.

Take the time to train all of your employees regardless of their job roles. Keep on top of training, implement a schedule to update skills, and work on new training as you update processes and equipment or get in new lines of stock so they know what to expect and what is expected of them.

RFID Is A Must

RFID or radio frequency identification system shows your stock in real items, allows you to keep on top of inventory levels, and lets you know exactly what stock you have and where it is on its journey.

Once everything is loaded onto the system, you can automate the tracking system. This reduces search labor costs and processing delays and gives you all the information you need in real-time to improve productivity.

Improve Forecasts

You need to give forecasts to help you ensure you have the appropriate amount of stock when you need it. A business software system can help you uncover trends and identify increases in demand, such as Christmas, for retailers or seasonal products, such as garden furniture, etc. This allows you to increase or reduce demand as required, meaning that you aren’t experiencing downtime or long wait times due to not having what you need when you need it or holding onto stock you won’t sell. It allows you to prepare for an influx of products and make appropriate arrangements, such as rearranging the layout to accommodate additional stock levels at this time.

Improving productivity in a warehouse requires you to be proactive and know exactly what is causing the issues within your business. From here, you can implement effective changes that make life easier for everyone, from vendors dropping off deliveries to customers and everyone in between. Take your time, assess what you are doing now, and make systemic changes to benefit everyone involved and get the results you require.

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