Improving efficiency in your warehouse is critical for all businesses with complex product stock management. Meeting growing customer demands will only further complicate your stock system and failure to meet customer needs ultimately means decreased profits.
So, with a bit of forwarding thinking and planning and our expert advice, you can ensure that your business only continues to grow and meet demand. Below, we have our top 8 ideas for improving efficiency for your warehouse and stock management:
1. Planning and design of warehouse
A carefully planned warehouse design is the best place to start. An effective warehouse will ensure that your products are easily replenished for picking, products are easily and quickly picked whilst maintaining high order picking accuracy levels, all staff are kept safe whilst picking and packing in your warehouse and dispatch areas. Whether you store your products on pallets, on pallet racking or in smaller boxes or parts trays on lighter duty shelving, careful planning is required to ensure you get the most of your distribution centre.
2. Optimising Inventory Management and Suitable Storage
With an increasing focus on companies to “stay lean”, managing your inventory is of prime importance and when done efficiently can lead to significant returns. Inventory often represents a large value and must be carefully stored to avoid damage and shrinkage. Making it easier and safer for staff to access stock and pick orders will increase your warehouse output. Some areas to focus on include reducing the manual handling of product by staff, having dedicated locations for each product, and ensuring you have clear product location labelling to ensure accurate order picking. Choosing a suitable storage solution will reduce product damage and drive your warehouse performance.
3. Utilising Machine Automation
The 2017 Manufacturing Trends article highlights automation in the warehouse as one of the most influential factors in improving warehouse productivity and efficiency. Many international warehouse operators are incorporating advances in automation, such as automated pallet storage, packing robots, conveyors and integrated picking systems to help increase efficiency and to help make the workplace more efficient and productive. By automating continuous or repetitive tasks in the warehouse, you can improve your throughput and achieve faster picking and dispatch times.
4. Establishing Automated Pallet Storage System
Continuing with automation and pallet systems, an automated pallet storage system, for example, will ensure speed and efficiency in product accessibility, with minimal effort. The automated pallet storage system guarantees the highest possible storage density through its optimal use of storage space. It consists of pallet racking configured in deep integrated lanes of pallets and it uses a robotic shuttle which carries pallets from the front of the lane down into the rear of the lane.
The end result? With the addition of automation, workers have the opportunity to focus on jobs that require human know-how and decision-making skills generating higher engagement in their work, and leaving the repetitive tasks to be done by machines.
By investing in state-of-the-art pallet storage systems, Australian businesses will maximise time efficiencies by storing and accessing products as quickly as possible. Bowen Storage provides innovative pallet storage solutions and is committed to raising the bar and revolutionising warehouse storage systems around Australia.
5. Adopting New Wearable Technologies
Wearable technologies, often referred to as ‘wearables’, are devices that are often connected to the internet or to other devices worn on the body, with the purpose of enhancing communication to and from other users. Wearable devices incorporate electronic capabilities including sensors, hands-free information retrieval and computing capability normally found in smartphones.
Manufacturers of wearable voice command technologies believe that these tools have the ability to increase productivity and overall warehouse efficiency by up to 30 per cent (Patrick Van den Bossche, 2016). Warehouse and logistic employees no longer need to hold a tablet, laptop, radio or scanner, leaving both hands free to complete operational activities more quickly. Whether sorting, moving packages or repairing machinery, employees can benefit from real time information to make informed decisions that benefit the customer.
6. Improving Warehouse Systems
Recognising the need for improved warehouse systems to service online growth is a step in the right direction. Warehouses now more than ever must cater for increasingly diverse product lines and volumes, have the scalability for rapid additions, and maintain inventory accuracy and efficiency. There is a clear requirement today to increase order picking speeds to enable prompt shipping to meet customer expectations.
So, the question is, how is your warehouse performing in response to today’s multi-channel retail environment? Are you achieving the best results? Or is something indicating that your efficiency (and profitability) could be improved? Are there constraints that are hindering or limiting your fulfilment? There is no doubt that the surge in online shopping has increased the need for many retailers to review the performance and efficiency of their warehouse.
7. Running Warehouse Audit Regularly
The design and layout of your warehouse is a key factor in preventing workplace injury, and as experts when it comes to safety, we know how critical it is for your employees and efficiency. All warehouses should complete a Racking Safety Audit every 12 months to ensure your racking meets Australian Standards. An auditor will expertly inspect and assess your pallet racking to identify any current or potential dangers that require immediate action, such as damaged racking or overloaded pallets.
8. Re-designing Warehouse to Improve Warehouse Efficiency
While you are thinking of an audit, maybe time to also think of efficiencies that you can incorporate in re-designing and planning your warehouse.
When you notice that your business growth is impacting on warehouse capacity, it might be time for a warehouse redesign or makeover! Storage experts can help you identify any negative space in your warehouse that may be underused or poorly organised, improving your warehouse efficiency.
Engaging the right storage experts can help you maximise your current warehouse capabilities, whilst preparing you for future business growth. At Bowen Storage, we are leaders in workplace solutions, with over 30 years’ experience in the market. We can assess your current warehouse operations and deliver creative solutions to ensure your workflow continues with as little disruption as possible. You might be surprised to discover how affordable and flexible your storage solution is, when compared to relocating.
Hopefully our ideas on how to improve warehouse efficiency have given you plenty of food for thought in improving how you manage, store and access your products. As always, we are more than happy to consult with you and lend our expert advice on improving efficiency with your warehousing and storage management. Contact us today to see how you can maximise those efficiencies so that you can continue to grow and improve into the future!