Have you ever struggled to find space to store goods? Then it’s time to spring clean your warehouse and processes.
What about your stock in general? Has it ever gone missing? Are your warehouse processes slowing your order fulfilment down? If you have answered “yes” to any of these, you may want to consider spring clean your warehouse and processes.
Forward-thinking companies now consider that the warehouse has the potential to be transformed from a cost centre to a growth centre. The first step in this spring clean is to get your warehouse in order and upgrade or introduce a WMS which will ensure that you are competing with the best in the business.
Clean Up The Clutter
This might not seem like “pro” warehouse consulting advice, but we can not overestimate the difference maker that having a clean and well-organised warehouse can be. Even if you don’t commit additional resources to do it, distributing a checklist of basic cleaning tasks to the floor staff can get it done pretty easily and painlessly once it becomes routine. Excess dirt, dust and scrap boxes and papers can be a safety hazard, damage product and increase steps to avoid garbage. It’s also a morale issue. On a slightly more important scale, make sure your aisles are completely clear to support unimpeded vehicle traffic (carts or lifts). NOTHING should sit in the aisles, everything needs to have a place.
SKU Location Optimisation
You may or may not already be doing this, but if you experienced unusual volumes and spikes in orders for specific products over the last year, it is probably something you would benefit from immediately. SKUs where the volume has been higher than normal need to get prioritised both in terms of their location (more accessible, closer to packing, etc.) and in size (i.e. double up the bin size). And if you have a lot of single item orders for a particular SKU, then the next option is recommended for you too in look at how to spring clean your warehouse and processes.
Cross-docking is an excellent way to maximise your efficiency on single-item orders, especially where you have them backordered and customers are waiting. It basically works by skipping the Putaway Process during Receiving of the item and instead relabelling them for shipment as they come off the truck and get routed right back out the door of your shipping dock. See a quick demo from Kevin in the video.
If your facility used to be a smooth-running, almost sleepy operation without the wild fluctuations other businesses see during peak then you might have been only doing physical inventory once or twice a year. Now that those days are gone, implementing regular cycle counts at least quarterly, and even monthly or weekly, will consume additional man hours now, but pay off in the long run with more accurate inventory and the labour cost reduced over time once it becomes a regular practice.
Update Receiving Processes
Traditional Receiving docks suffer from TWO major problems – huge hidden costs from the extra footsteps taken by workers walking back and forth to a stationary printer for labels, and mistakes in Putaway when pallets left alone on the dock get mislabelled or putaway without any labels at all so make sure you don’t forget this area when you spring clean your warehouse and processes. .
“Mobile Printing” allows your Receiving team to print on demand on the Receiving dock, right at the pallet. It eliminates nearly all errors and all unnecessary footsteps. The best part? The small investment usually pays for itself within six months.
Explore MDM Solutions
How much time is spent by your IT department visiting facilities, finding devices and identifying them properly in order to update the software on them? How much time is spent updating permissions for each user? Getting a Mobile Device Management solution would allow your IT support staff to manage ALL your mobile devices in any facility anywhere from their desk. It saves them not just time, but potential travel costs as well as unneeded exposure from coming into contact with devices used by every employee.
You have probably heard this from your hardware Reseller already (and if you have not, let us know and we can introduce you to a new one!), but if you are still using Windows OS Devices, you no longer have ANY support for them. We are aware of a number of businesses have been milking the end-of-life scenario by living off of others used devices, but this is a band-aid approach that is not be sustainable, especially if you are looking to solve for last year’s spike and the future. Other than your Windows 10 rugged tablets, it’s time to start planning your move to Android devices if you expect to benefit from other pieces of the puzzle like software and compatibility.
Warehouse Management System Are Key
Again, like the Android recommendation above, there are still too many ambitious DCs out there that still haven’t deployed a Warehouse Management System (WMS). If you have not been using one yet, the initial deployment will seem like an overly challenging, expensive form of overkill, but you can deploy them one module at a time. Start with core processes and incorporate others as you go.
Overall Your Floor Plan
After a year where the typical volumes and flows of the business were altered, perhaps permanently, it’s always good to take a step away from the floor and see if your floor plan is still working for you. As a basic rule, your workflow should dictate your floor plan. If you had process areas with big changes in volume or space allocations last year, then your workflow – and floor plan – will likely no longer be optimal. Thing to consider go well beyond just the efficiency aspect:
- Efficiency, productivity, minimising touches and steps
- Employee Safety
- Ventilation, lighting and environmental controls.
- Maximising space usage – horizontally and vertically.
All of these items are connected to each other. Obviously if you decide to make use of your high ceilings to install a mezzanine or redesign all of your reserve shelving to be serviced with single-operator picking cranes instead of a two-person team on a lift, the investment gets much higher. But if the situation dictates an investment like this and the ROI makes sense, then it’s work considering.
There is no one right answer to warehouse space issues and how to
spring clean your warehouse and processes. In fact, the answer is usually a combination of several things listed above. You can spring clean your warehouse and free up space, add equipment and add trucks to the yard. There’s usually more than one answer. However, in today’s competitive world technology is key to ensure you maximise your warehouse space.
A Warehouse Management System (WMS) is crucial in any modern warehouse environment. Paper pick lists and stock location held on spreadsheets just don’t provide a platform for the efficiency needed to meet growing customer demands on order accuracy and speed of delivery.
The benefits of having the perfect warehouse layout design, with an optimally selected picking methodology, will be compromised on implementation without a fit-for-purpose Warehouse Management System (WMS). A WMS can assist you in redesigning your warehouse layout.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfillment and manufacturing warehousing.