10 common warehousing mistakes to avoid

You’re likely reading this article because your business premises has a warehouse and you want to make it run smoothly. The thing is, you don’t want to make any warehousing mistakes that could cause your warehouse to become inefficient or even unsafe.

As you can imagine, there are many different sized warehouses in existence. Whether you’ve got a small warehouse or one that’ll give an Amazon fulfilment centre a run for its money, make sure you avoid these common warehousing mistakes:

common warehousing mistakes1. Having unsuitable equipment

As you can appreciate, warehouses require all kinds of equipment to move things around and package items for despatch. The trouble is, some warehouses have the wrong equipment to get various tasks done. As a result, efficiency levels become very low.

That’s why it makes sense to invest in the right equipment to complete each task correctly and swiftly. For example, an electric pallet truck from vendors like Lifting365 is a wise choice compared to using a manual pallet truck.

Plus, a forklift truck is ideal for storing pallets on high racks instead of laying everything out at ground level.

2. Holding too much stock

Arguably one of the biggest warehousing mistakes that even well-established warehouses make is to hold too much inventory. There are several reasons why holding too much stock is a bad idea for your business:

  • Your money gets tied up in stock;
  • You have less warehouse space to store new goods arriving into your warehouse;
  • You could end up holding onto stock that seldom sells.

It would be better to embrace lean warehousing practices, so you don’t hold onto stock unnecessarily. That way, you can take advantage of heavily-discounted volume order deals and have the money and space for them!

3. Not using electronic paperwork

The year is now 2021, and you would think that all warehouses would use electronic paperwork processes. However, that’s not the case, and many warehouse centres still do a plethora of paperwork processes manually with pen and paper!

Computers and the Internet make it easy to send and receive information between different nodes in an organisation. Plus, barcode scanners can update stock inventory databases in real-time without making warehousing mistakes or waiting for a bulk stock update at the end of each day.

If your warehouse is still heavily reliant on paper processes, it’s time to upgrade to the 21st century.

4. Not defining clear picking paths

When your warehouse team needs to pick products for order fulfilment, they should have clearly defined picking paths. What that means is, your warehouse operatives must have access to products close to their despatch areas.

The last thing you want is for your warehouse workers to traipse up and down your warehouse all day long. That’s because they will inevitably slow down the picking and packing process, resulting in delayed orders and potentially angry customers.

Keep commonly-picked items nearest to your despatch stations, and other things further away.

5. Operating a messy warehouse

Health and safety should be a top priority in any warehouse, regardless of its size or the number of employees working within it. The sad truth is some warehouses don’t keep on top of their health and safety, risking the lives of anyone working in it.

Did you know one of the leading causes of accidents in warehouses is due to untidy workstations or rubbish left on the ground? It’s crucial to ensure loading docks aren’t messy and aisles aren’t littered with shrink-wrap or other rubbish.

6. Inadequate safety testing

Sticking with the subject of health and safety, some warehouses are unfortunately guilty of inadequate safety testing. You need to make sure your warehouse doesn’t fall under that same category. Here are some things you can do to keep on top of your warehouse safety:

  • Conduct regular fire alarm tests (it’s also the law to do so);
  • Perform daily checks of bulky goods moving equipment like forklift trucks;
  • Regularly check all lighting and electrical systems are operating correctly.

Consider appointing a warehouse team member in charge of safety testing and keeping a log of all safety checked conducted.

7. Forgetting about goods-in processes

When the clock ticks ever closer to your daily despatch deadlines, your warehouse staff will undoubtedly be rushing to complete all of the day’s orders. After all: customers expect their orders to get picked, packed, and sent out in a reasonably quick time.

The trouble is, it’s all too easy to forget about the goods inward side of your warehouse during the latter stages of the day. Pallets of stock awaiting allocation in your warehouse, and delivery drivers waiting to unload their lorries is never a good thing.

8. Forgetting about employee development

Your warehouse staff are among some of the most important people working for your business. Yet, the undeniable truth is they are typically the last people to get considered for appraisals, training, and general employee development.

Make sure you put in place employee development programmes for all your warehouse workers. They should get treated as the valuable members of staff that they are and not forgotten about. 

9. Failing to keep on top of security

One problem that all warehouses must deal with at some stage is security, or rather, theft. All employers like to assume that their staff are trustworthy, but there are some occasions where one or two bad apples spoil things for everyone else.

With that in mind, you should have a proper CCTV system in place to monitor your warehouse for the protection of your goods and employees.

10. Heating and cooling

Lastly, does your warehouse feel like an oven during summer and a freezer in winter? If so, it’s time you invested in a decent HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system for your warehouse.

As a responsible employer, you have a legal duty to ensure a safe working environment for your employees, including temperature regulation. Aside from health and safety, a proper HVAC system will ensure your inventory doesn’t get temperature damaged.