For any distribution company, warehouse efficiency is critical to its success. It is really amazing how making small tweaks to processes are able to have significant impacts on efficiency, and in turn the bottom line of an organization. Despite all of the important benefits, there are so many distribution companies that fail to make the necessary changes for improving their processes. The following are 5 basic things that distribution companies can do in order to improve their warehouse management efficiency.
- Implement A Warehouse Management System
Having a Warehouse Management System in place can give your company improved warehouse efficiency and greater inventory visibility by allowing your organization to more accurately and better deliver orders to customers. The ability for staff to pick and ship your products quickly is made a lot easier and expedited orders may be reduced. If your organization doesn’t have a Warehouse Management System in place yet, you should definitely consider doing so.
- Double Check Your Orders
Humans have a tendency to have lapses in their judgment. So make sure that you cross all of your T’s and dot all of your I’s. Inside the warehouse, this is definitely a very important requirement. The cost incurred by distributors for having to send an order out a second time, after the first order has been messed up, usually is more than $100 (which is more than twice the cost for sending the first order out). What that means is that for each mistake you make with an order it will cost you double. It doesn’t matter how large your company is, for your organization’s financial health this is unsustainable.
The simple fix to this is to always double check your orders. Make this a firm policy, get a system created and put up signs to remind everyone. If you have any new hires who are picking orders this is particularly important. Here is a list of best practices.
- Make Sure Your Warehouses Are Kept Clean
You are all too familiar with how annoying it is to misplace a favorite ball cap, shirt, or your keys, and assuming they are lost forever, even though they are just buried underneath a pile of junk someplace in your house. This basic situation can be very frustrating, increase your level of stress beyond what is reasonably and cause you to be late for important appointments.
So what occurs if your warehouse is messy and unorganized? The exact same thing, except instead of you being late for an appointment, you may get an order sent out late, which will cost you money and maybe even a customer.
Allocating a few hours per month or week for cleaning your warehouses can result in significant improvements in efficiency. You may find a number of misplaced or missing orders. In addition, having a clean warehouse allows your employees to get things done much easier and move around more quickly. It really is common sense to keep your warehouses clean.
- Bring Order To Your Orders
When your items are stacked in a logical and orderly fashion, is allows for timely and easy retrieval of products for your staff which helps to increase your efficiency. A good racking system can aid this. In addition, it will be easier for employees to find items and it is less likely that they will be misplaced or lost, which helps to optimize space and reduce wastage.
- Have Your Senior Employees Walk The Warehouse Floor
When your senior employees have a couple of minutes available, one good way of identifying inefficiencies is having them walk your warehouse floor. Obtaining an outsider’s perspective on your daily warehouse operations can really go a long way toward understanding exactly where the bottlenecks are taking place and why. Many times a regular routine becomes so ingrained in the operations of a company that it may appear to be “normal” even though it is very inefficient. When senior leadership – those who have the authority for implementing processing changes – are given insight into what might appear to be mundane operations, it can provide the company with extensive cost and time savings.