Warehouse managers know all too well that the task of managing operations for a warehouse facility is far from straightforward. Warehouse operations managers are tasked with ensuring the efficient flow of products in and out of the facility, optimising the building’s layout, making sure orders are fulfilled and products are in stock, but not overstocked. Add ensuring profitability and minimising overhead and labour costs to the mix, and warehouse operators have their work cut out for them.
If you want your facility operating at maximum capacity with low overhead, get ahead of the competition by staying on top of new warehouse management best practices and logistics best practices. Better business operations are on the horizon when you continue to innovate, invest in new technology, maintain organised inventory, and effectively utilise your warehouse space.
Below are the top six best practices for warehousing that you should look to implement in your warehouse operations:
Invest in an Advanced Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Want maximum efficiency? It’s time to adopt a warehouse management system (WMS). With the most advanced warehouse management system (WMS), you’ll know where your product is at all times. Employing an internal system like a WMS advances your operations with real-time inventory tracking. When using this technology to your advantage, there’s less for you to manage. Overall, it produces a more accurate warehouse process with significantly fewer errors, reducing costs, and making your customers happier.
When looking for a WMS make sure the features match your business objectives and requirements.
The top 10 essential features to look for in a WMS are:-
- Integration with advanced radio-frequency and barcoding technologies.
- Complete back-office integration with Order Entry, Inventory Control, and Purchase Orders modules.
- Scalability to accommodate future business growth.
- Real-time inventory updates.
- Browser-based interface.
- E-commerce capability, including Web store integration and B2B EDI support.
- Advanced reporting capability.
- Support for multiple picking methods.
- Compliance labelling and ASNs.
- Automated inventory receipt and put-away
Store Your Data in the Cloud
If you haven’t started transitioning away from paper processes or spreadsheets, there’s no better time than now. Data can now be entered directly into digital software stored on the cloud, avoiding puzzling handwriting, missing paperwork, and a litany of other errors that can arise. Users can save all warehousing data and reports digitally via cloud-based storage. Moving to the cloud reduces wasted space and paper. More importantly, it allows for a secure backup of essential reports, inventory data, sales, and billing available 24 hours a day.
Use Your Space Wisely
If your sales are increasing, you’ll need to evaluate your current space and see if it still is effective. You may consider a new warehouse design layout or a third-party logistics (3PL) provider. The cost of warehouse square footage is no joke. By turning over your storage and handling to a 3PL, you gain additional space in your existing facility. By employing warehousing services from a 3PL, you should see a reduction in operational costs, inventory carrying costs, and more efficient picking and packing operations.
Increase Inventory Visibility
Look at visibility from a proactive standpoint by fine-tuning your systems and processes. Continue to invest in systems that accurately forecast customer demand and determine correct inventory levels in your warehouse’s supply chain. Barcode scanning ensures inventory and order integrity. Keeping tabs on your inventory can help with other key performance indicators, analyse order trends, and produce heat maps for orders throughout the country and the world. When everyone is on the same page, everyone stays aligned with both company and customer needs. Plus, your warehouse gains greater end-to-end visibility.
Improve Picking Speed and Efficiency
When it’s appropriate and it makes sense, eliminate unnecessary steps in your processes. Individual items or cases can be picked from a pallet and directly packed into a shipping carton. Not only does this make the process faster and more streamlined, but it can also increase customer satisfaction and maximise your bottom line.
Pursue Alternate Logistics Solutions
A long-running shortage of truck drivers and port congestion are merely two of many issues the logistics industry faces. If the pandemic has taught us anything, your business needs to prepare for all kinds of situations. By partnering with a 3PL for warehousing and distribution services, you have a built-in ally to help plan for unforeseen circumstances. Seek alternative shipping routes, find varied shipping methods for efficient last-mile delivery, and secure as much capacity as possible from your logistics partners. Together, you can build a new, agile supply chain.
Each warehouse has its own operations or different steps depending on their industry and product requirements. Implementing the best practices in warehousing we outlined will help place your business in a position to operate effectively. Keeping your attention on improved operations gives you the competitive advantage you need to secure new customers, maintain relationships with existing customers, and keep up with demand. Take your business a step further and work with a customer-focused partner who cares about your reputation.
Technology is also key – Selecting the right warehouse management system for your business can have a tremendous positive impact on the bottom line so it’s important to have an idea of the goals you’re planning to accomplish with a WMS for SMBs and the specific functionality you’ll need to achieve those goals before speaking with vendors.
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 fulfilment and manufacturing warehousing.