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6 Tips for Improving Warehouse Operations

Written By: Mike Johnston, Smooth Decorator, on Sep 26, 2018

Warehouse management is a keystone of every logistics system, and an essential part of supply chain management. The role of a storage facility is only one of many roles of a modern warehouse that enable the entire supply chain to work flawlessly. One of principal roles of a warehouse in modern organizations is to enhance sales turnover and profits from a short span of time. Storage also reduces delivery costs for both businesses and customers since the products are shipped from a central location, but on the other hand, it lets businesses bargain for higher prices for their products, winning over companies which are unable to store their goods. Let’s list a few management tips for enhancing the efficiency of warehouse operations.

1. Plan for warehouse space

Every square inch of a warehouse needs to be planned towards maximizing storage space. This management strategy can be implemented with relatively little cost. The space needs to be organized in such a way that enables quick and smooth fluctuation of goods, with adequate room for forklifts and cargo carrying machines to operate safely and move around. If the bins are marked properly, there is less chance that goods will be confused and stocked in inappropriate places. 

2. Work out a maintenance plan

A regular maintenance plan ensures that every asset is attended to. Make an overview of every asset in the warehouse, including all the machinery you use, such as forklifts, shipping and receiving installations, etc. and create an order and schedule with which these items need to be inspected, serviced and repaired. Proper scheduling is important here just as dividing the work, since it cannot be done at once without significantly slowing down the warehouse operation. 

3. Establish safety standards

When it comes to work-related injury rates, warehouses are unfortunately often found near the top of the lists, with most of accidents occurring due to the lack of employee training and awareness. Heavy-duty equipment and complex retrieval systems must be operated only by trained and experienced staff, while the warehouse itself needs to be marked for safe distance and danger zones protocols. On the other hand, one part of proper preparation comes from having an appropriate building insurance valuation, which enables your company to recover quickly if a disaster strikes. 

4. Avoid mixing up SKUs

A common mistake in warehouse management process is to mix several stock keeping units (SKUs) into one bin, in order to save space. Even though this practice makes sense for average sized SKUs, its benefit is not always justified. Tracking, spotting and loading/unloading SKUs bundled up in a single bin often draws a time penalty. However, if no other option is viable, multiple SKUs can be placed into a single bin, provided that the bin is divided into convenient parts for easier access. 

5. Account for inventory

In an ideal scenario, any kind of maintenance you perform won’t disrupt the warehouse operations. However, maintenance and repair still require following standard procedures and inventory counts. If there is a need to perform maintenance on an item that may impact your inventory, such as inventory shelving, inventory counts need to be performed on the affected area to ensure everything is present and accounted for, while the shelving is being stripped down and inspected for maintenance. 

6. Enable tech-supported tracking

Process automation is an important aspect of warehouse optimization, with barcode and RFID-enabled data collection and inventory tracking being excellent choices for effective stock management. That considering, manual interference in warehouse operations should be minimized in order to save time and improve speed. Tech-supported inventory tracking proves invaluable for businesses dealing with thousands of SKUs in multiple storage locations. 

These warehouse management and maintenance tips can provide tremendous breakthrough for any type of warehouse, public or private. With warehouses remaining central to the success of many businesses, staying on top of basic warehouse management pays rich dividends. 

Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and contributor on several interior design, real estate, and eco blogs.

Mike Johnston, Smooth Decorator

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