5 keys to running a successful warehouse
Storage, speed and efficiency is the name of the game in the pick and pack fulfillment world. In order to maximize profits, the layout and organization of your warehouse is paramount. 5 tips shared by Mervyn Jeffery from Masters Logistics Services Limited will help you chart the right course.
- Maximise storage space
Instead of expanding your warehouse outwards, use a narrow aisle layout and taller storage units to maximise the space you have available in your warehouse. A space-effective layout will increase your storage capacity, whilst eliminating expansion costs.
- Operate strategic inventory control
Ensure those goods that are regularly dispatched from the warehouse are stored in easy to access areas e.g. near the loading bay. This means it can get loaded onto trucks quicker, saving you time and allowing you to focus on storing and loading other cargo. You may also consider placing items together in the warehouse that are often dispatched at the same time. This will concentrate your work into one area, reducing the time spent picking items from different areas of the warehouse. Ensure that you have a FIFO system in place too, so the waste of perishable goods is minimised. Keeping company product together in one line reduces movement and pick time all of which adds up.
- Use a WMS
Using a warehouse management system allows you to track and retrieve any item of freight in your warehouse in an instant. This can greatly reduce the time required to search for goods when they need to be dispatched. At Firstmile / IFS 360 we use Vericore which allows us to optimize receiving, monitor FIFO, pick locations, inventory counts, multiple channel consolidation and much more.
- Incentivise your staff
Sometimes, the secret to running an efficient warehousing operation is by having a fully motivated workforce. This can sometime be hard with the nature of temp vs. part time vs full time labor. Setting goals around team pick and pack times and incentivising management and the labor to reaching those goals is cheaper then wasted time and money with slow performance.
- Consider using a 3PL
Working with a logistics expert will not only improve the efficiency of your warehousing operation, but it will improve your customer service quality and save you time and money too. Using a 3PL ensures that your capital isn’t tied up in facilities and systems, but does guarantee the safe storage of your freight.
Apply these tips where necessary. If you haven’t already done so run a soft audit on your current process and see if you are doing all you can to maximize efficiency. If there is an opportunity to extent your order cut off time by an hour that means you can get more orders out the door the day of, that is going to lead to a better customer experience which leads to return customers.