How to Optimize Your Warehouse Operations

There’s more to operating your warehouse than simply putting up some shelves and moving inventory around. Sure, you can do it that way, but if you don’t optimize how you operate, you’re going to be wasting time, money, resources, and manpower. By following a few of these tips, you’ll be able to run your warehouse much more effectively, which will translate into making more money.

Remove Human Error

Many of the issues in warehouse operations come from human error. If you can automate as much as you possibly can, you remove this element. That’s why many warehouses are moving to automated picking, tracking, and packing.

Use Technology

Another way of removing human error and keeping your records updated and correct is to use technology. Barcode scanners, tablets, and a good warehouse inventory control system will help you keep your inventory up-to-date. It’s also much faster than trying to keep a written system or manually enter items into a computer. All your employees need to do is scan a barcode and all of the pertinent information is entered into the system.

Organize your Shelving

Create some kind of logical storage method that your workers will understand. If it takes someone extra time to work through your warehouse shelving method to find what they want, that’s time being wasted. Products should be stored in such a way that your employees intuitively know where to find them.

Plan Upgrades and Changes for the Off Season

This is one area where your warehouse inventory system comes in handy. You can look at warehousing trends and see what times of the year you’re typically not that busy. This is when you want to schedule your major warehouse upgrades and other projects since you won’t be trying to handle a huge amount of product while parts of your warehouse are undergoing renovation or you’re trying to learn a new computer system.

When upgrading your inventory system, remember that you don’t always have to upgrade right away or to the latest version. If what you have is providing everything you need, it may be better to skip a few updates, especially if the features they’re adding aren’t something you’re going to use.

Take Measurements and Compare them to Milestones

It’s hard to tell if your warehouse is operating at optimum efficiency if you have no measurements of what you’re doing. You need to be able to look at hard data and determine if your warehouse is truly operating as it should be or if there is room for major improvements. If there is, you need to be able to use this information to create a plan to improve performance, and then successfully implement this plan.

Don’t be Afraid of Change

This goes along with the previous tip. Just because you’ve always done something a specific way doesn’t mean that it’s the best way. Be prepared and open to taking a good, hard look at how your warehouse operates. If necessary, bring in someone from the outside to evaluate your processes and point out areas that need improvement. Sometimes it’s difficult to see these areas from the inside.

What other tips do you have for companies looking to optimize their warehouse operations? Comment below to join the conversation!

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