How to improve warehouse efficiency
In the age of e-commerce, consumers demand products and services faster than ever. Companies need to run an efficient warehouse to keep up with their order fulfilment, or risk being taken over by competitors, losing profit along the way.
Communication is a key factor in any warehouse environment – if communication breaks down in the warehouse, it can be felt across many other departments in a business, ultimately affecting the consumer. Having the right warehouse technology solutions is a vital first step. Read on to explore our top tips for improving warehouse efficiency with this in mind.
Tips for improving warehouse efficiency
Below is an outline of areas where communication breakdowns occur, and what your business can do to remedy those problems.
When receiving goods, it is important to ensure that new inventory is booked in correctly and any discrepancies are highlighted as quickly as possible. Failure to do so results in incorrect inventory, causing problems further down the line when a customer requires a product.
Avoid adding unnecessary stress to your staff when things go wrong - the most common cause of miscounts is human error, so employing technology such as warehouse management software to replace manual receiving processes can make this area of the warehouse more accurate. Devices such as mobile computers and barcode scanners that can be synchronised with new or existing inventory software will reduce error, whilst simultaneously speeding up the receiving process.
One of the largest issues that the UK is facing at the minute is storage space – which is one reason why it is so important that you have streamlined processes and a workforce that communicates well. Storing stock incorrectly can lead to misplaced and miscounted inventory, potentially increasing purchasing costs when items cannot be located in the warehouse.
Investing in stock control software at this crucial point in time can help to put your warehouse on the fast track to success. A warehouse management system (WMS) can ensure end to end visibility of inventory by creating an inventory location system, making navigating stock easier. WMS providers such as Microlistics can also provide a business with functionality such as Slotting Optimisation and System Directed Putaway, which both use automation to organise stock within to create a more efficient warehouse.
Older picking processes can be slow and inaccurate, wasting precious time and resources. Speed them up with mobile computers and tablets – choosing an Android OS reduces employee training time due to its familiarity with many consumer devices – less time training, more time working.
Investing for the future is a huge focus for warehouse executives at present, and more companies are looking at wearable barcode scanners. Workers are no longer constrained – with both hands free to perform other tasks workers can be more versatile during their shifts.
Shipping goods to consumers demands a high level of accuracy, details on shipping receipts and packaging need to be correct to ensure that the right products get to the right place. Relying on handwritten address labels can be time consuming, as well as leaving a high margin for error.
Label printers in the warehouse can abate this issue. Create high quality, easily readable labels whilst also cutting down on media costs (fewer mistakes – fewer labels wasted).
On the road, lack of communication between couriers and offices can be disastrous – proof of delivery solutions can streamline operations and improve visibility by displaying information in real time, speeding up the resolution of any issues on the road.
Consumer goods aren’t the only thing you need to track in your warehouse. It’s a common and unfortunate issue that many devices employees use regularly will be misplaced – or go missing completely – at some point. It can be frustrating for the employee who needs the device to perform their job properly, and for the business that ends up losing vital assets, even if only temporarily. Paper-based asset tracking works in theory - but having to fill in a form whenever an employee wants to sign a device in or out is time away from the warehouse, and the hassle can drive some employees to ignore the system completely.
Wasp AssetCloud is an easy to use asset tracking software that cuts out paper-based tracking processes by utilising barcodes to keep track of where devices are, all contained in a user friendly interface, giving you peace of mind that your assets are safe and accounted for.
Investing in a device storage solution, such as the Connect ID Cabinet will also make your mobile devices easier to manage by storing them securely when not in use. Charging capabilities ensure that devices are ready to use when removed from the cabinet.
Supporting your journey towards more efficient warehousing
All in all, improving communication in your warehouse is a simple task when you deploy the right technologies for your business. Streamlining processes and keeping employees in contact with each other, management and business applications couldn't be easier with technology and a managed service to keep your devices updated and in action.
To discover how we can help, get in touch on our warehouse technology solutions page.