How to improve your warehouse operations

The warehouse sits at the operational heart of most businesses today. As a result, improving efficiency and productivity within the warehouse can have a positive impact right across an enterprise. From minimising costs to nurturing customer relationships, there are many benefits to spending time focusing on opportunities to improve the way that this essential part of the business is operating. These are just some of the options that could help you to achieve this goal.

  • Audit your existing set up. If you want to improve warehouse operations you need to start by looking at existing systems and where room for improvement exists. How long do processes currently take, where could time and resource savings be made and where might technology, such as automated storage and retrieval, make a difference?
  • Train your people. You can invest heavily in technology and see great improvements but this will only go so far if you don’t also channel resources into your people. Education and training not only ensures you get the most out of technology and equipment but turns your workforce into assets who can continue to look for efficiency opportunities on an ongoing basis.
  • Switch to omni-channel fulfilment. Developing the capacity to fulfil orders for multiple channels can improve output and efficiency overall.
  • Look for opportunities to go lean. A lean approach to warehouse operations means identifying where unnecessary actions and excesses can be reduced. That could be something as basic as minimising packaging or finding ways to shorten loading and unloading times to speed up productivity.
  • Update your technology and equipment. Something as simple as upgrading a Warehouse Management System (WMS) can have a huge impact on how productive a warehouse is overall. Investing in equipment that allows for greater automation of processes is also a great way to increase output and productivity and improve safety. From carousels and vertical lifts to Pick to Light or Pick to Voice systems there are lots of options out there.
  • Identify problem areas. In particular, look for mistakes and errors that are costing the business money. A WMS upgrade can be an essential part of the process of starting to look into where there is unnecessary waste.
  • Focus on preventative maintenance. If you’re going to invest in equipment then it’s essential to ensure that it’s maintained. A preventative approach to ongoing maintenance can help to avoid downtime required to fix large repairs and keep costs down.
  • Design a safety culture. Accidents and incidents are costly, can slow operations down and do reputational damage. It’s important to provide education and training and implement standards and policies that show that this is a priority for the business.
  • Increase security. That could be something as simple as introducing increased security for access to digital networks, adding security cameras or systems or restricting physical access to certain areas to a limited number of people.

These are just a few of the options for your warehouse if you’re keen to find ways to improve existing operations.

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