It doesn’t matter if you are an independent company specialising in shipping small items in cardboard tubes and boxes or a multi-national dispatching hundreds of pallets every day: ensuring that your warehouse operations are efficient as possible is vital to maintain customer satisfaction and protect your business reputation. This is because it reduces the risks of slow or inaccurate shipments and the wasting of both time and money.
Boosting warehouse efficiency doesn’t have to be a complicated business, either, as these five simple tips from Holmes Mann demonstrate.
Make the most of the space you have, and remove the need to pay for excessively large premises by utilising vertical space. This can be beneficial whether you are storing pallets or the contents of cardboard boxes and cardboard tubes.
Try to avoid storing smaller items on pallet racks, as this wastes space and increases the risk of items being misplaced. Consider investing in different types of shelving to suit specific tasks, and make use of standardised bins or bespoke wooden crates to keep shelving orderly and neat.
The basic idea of adopting lean inventory is that you only store the items you need and reduce the amount of safety stocks kept. Instead, go for deliveries of frequent smaller deliveries.
If your budget allows, some form of warehouse management system, or WMS, can boost efficiency, as it suggests the most efficient methods and routes for put-away or picking.
It can also offer automated pick lists which can be shared with mobile devices, making your warehouse more efficient and environmentally friendly whilst reducing errors.
Barcode readers or radio frequency identification (RFID) can also boost accuracy and prevent mistakes during packing of pallets, cardboard boxes and tubes or bespoke wooden crates.
Prevent employees having to waste time searching for equipment or tools by ensuring that workstations are organised according to lean manufacturing’s 5S method: sort, set down in order, shine and standardise. Finally, sustain this practice in order to reduce clutter and errors and boost organisation and safety.
If you do not have a WMS, you can still create efficient picking plans manually. You should also analyse how you use materials, such as cardboard boxes and tubes, and store items used most frequently in the same location.
This should be near to the entrance of your warehouse in order to minimise travel time. Items regularly sold together should also be stored in the same area to avoid picking delays.