Four Tips for a More Efficient Warehouse

1. Plan your warehouse layout with sales in mind. Your most popular items probably likely change with the seasons, so re-slot your warehouse to accommodate your expected sales, and review the plan at least once every season. This can reducing unnecessary travel for your order pickers, improving efficiency, saving money and decreasing the chances of product damage or safety issues. Many warehouse management systems even have dynamic layout tools which can help you with this kind of planning.

2. Make sure your equipment has a maintenance schedule and stick to it. As any veteran of the supply chain will tell you, equipment issues are bound to happen. When they do, downtime of important machinery can really hamper your efficiency. Be sure not to wait until things break to have them services. Contact the manufacturer of each piece of equipment in your facility, and ask for a copy of their maintenance guide. Find a company that's able to service as many pieces of equipment as possible, and that is located close by. This can mean faster response times if urgent issues do arise, and will give you one point of contact for the maintenance and repair of several machines. Make sure that you follow the service guidelines supplied by the manufacturer for man lifts, forklifts, pallet jacks, loading docks, garage doors, pallet wrappers, scales and all the other tools you reply on.

3. Consider automation. Order pickers spend about 65% of their time moving product or walking to or from products. Automated solutions such as warehouse robots can help to bring your operation into the 21st century and can improve profits.

4. Streamline as many processes as possible, and consider automating those as well. Things like reconciling freight bills, priting BOLs, obtaining quotes and scheduling pickups for shipments and ordering supplies from vendors can mostly become automated processes, which can free you or members of your team up to focus on more productive activities.