A well-managed warehouse runs like a machine and requires attention to the various processes that work within it. It will be blatantly obvious when a warehouse is not being well-managed by the following tell-tale signs: Problems such as lost inventory, inaccurate inventory counts, shipping errors, late deliveries, damaged products, work injuries and low productivity. Also bad morale among warehouse employees is usually a sign of management problems.
So, what can be done to avoid these problems within any warehouse? It really comes down to common sense and attention to the processes at work. A warehouse isn’t rocket science, but it does require sensible organisation, procedures, equipment and maintenance.
Here are some things to do that will make any warehouse run more efficiently:
Organisation is key
Organisation begins when incoming products are received, but continues when they are moved to the sales floor, stored for customer delivery and once they are made ready to be shipped out. Each step of the inventory process is manageable if all items get documented and checked during each internal transition as it happens.
The paperwork or inventory tracking procedure must be clearly understood by those handling it. This means being sure that all employees in the process are well trained, but also backed up with management that oversees their work properly.
For warehouse managers, there is no passing the buck. If you expect the employees to keep things in order, then you should know how to do every step of the process as well.
Procedures can usually be broken down into a simple order of operations. As a product comes into the inventory, it should be documented and given an internal tracking number or bar code. After this happens, it should be placed in a clearly defined area that is appropriate for its purpose.
Warehouses that don’t regulate and make space for inventory on a regular basis are certain to end up with damaged or lost products further down the line.
Daily inventory of goods coming in and out must be followed up with warehouse space management. So, whatever your warehouse business may be, setting up a clear set of procedures for daily management will enable the greater inventory process to run smoothly. Ignoring this will lead to disastrous results in the long run and will eat away at the profits of any type business.
Having the right tools for the job
Having the proper tools and equipment for running a warehouse is a high priority too. Without the right equipment, a warehouse is doomed to failure.
All warehouses need proper lifting and storage equipment, tools and packaging supplies.
Depending on the type of product you are moving about, this may include items as large as trucks and heavy machinery. All essential equipment should be purchased in multiples, so that if one breaks, there is always another to use. Keep in mind you may also need to invest in a way to transport your many pieces of large equipment to other locations or other buildings used utility trailers are a great solution. Equipment may also include things like computers, registers, printers and postal meters.
A warehouse requires a wide range of tools, everything from manual labour tools to digital servers for the overall process. Never skimp on purchasing the right equipment for the jobs that will be part of the daily routine.
Maintain your warehouse space
Maintenance is another essential aspect of running any typical warehouse. It is important to let employees be cross-trained in equipment maintenance, so that more than one person knows how to fix problematic breakdowns.
Proper warehouse maintenance is synonymous with internal safety for employees. Workers are injured more often by faulty equipment than any other accidents on the job. This also applies to moving products to the showroom floor and onto vehicles for delivery outside of the warehouse.
A warehouse that neglects to maintain the dock, loading areas and the building itself, will inevitably be plagued with damaged goods or injured workers.
Having well-managed logistics is key to growing any business, because the warehouse is like the furiously paddling legs of a graceful swan. A good setup will keep your business on track, but a poor setup can cost you more than just a few delayed orders.
Following the simple guidelines addressed in this article will be a good starting point. Taking the time to implement common sense within the process requires regular attention in order to achieve optimum productivity, but the results are well worth it.
RHP Racking is a supplier of shelving, racking and storage solutions across the UK. As well as providing a comprehensive range of storage, the team at RHP Racking can create bespoke shelving and racking solutions perfect for any warehouse. With over 40 years of experience in the industry, RHP can provide a complete service offering you all the assistance you need.