A new year is right around the corner. Now is the time to make key changes to your business to ensure you’ll use your time to the fullest, going forward.
Warehouse management can be a time-consuming endeavor, especially for rapidly growing companies that lack more sophisticated software and hardware that much bigger companies use. So here are four time-saving warehouse management tactics you can put to work in your business.
1. Set Automatic Reorder Points
To avoid shortages and keep your warehouse(s) full of products to sell, you need to be constantly reordering products as they get low. Doing this by hand sounds like a nightmare. You would have to always be out in the warehouse checking the shelves and hunting for which spots are bare.
A better way to handle reordering is to use automatic reorder points. Use a warehouse management solution that allows you to set a minimum amount (or buffer stock level) for every product, part, and other item you have. Then, whenever an item reaches that level it will instantly inform you to contact the vendor and get more as soon as possible.
2. Track Inventory in Multiple Locations
No two locations are the same. If you have more than one warehouse, you know that you have different supply chain needs, demand trends, and many other factors. If you find yourself laden with too many products in one warehouse and too few in another, you should be able to quickly transfer products between them. If the problem persists over time, you can make adjustments to your inventory levels by location.
Study sales trends at each location and you should be able to spot areas for improvement. Being proactive and solving problems before they happen will definitely be a big boon for your business.
3. Optimize Your Warehouse Layout
It’s time to do an in-depth analysis of your warehouse’s layout. Have you recently thought about why your parts and products are stored where they are? It might be a good idea to look at the data and see if you can increase efficiency by grouping similar items together.
Put parts that are often used in conjunction in the manufacturing process next to each other for easy placement and retrieval. Put products that are frequently ordered together next to each other. And put high-demand products close to the receiving bay for easier access. Think of your warehouse as a three-dimensional space, and consider the advantages of using multiple shelving levels and forklifts to make better use of all of your storage space.
4. Speed Up Picking, Packing, and Shipping
As a result of optimizing your warehouse layout, you’ll find the process of picking, packing, and shipping products to be much faster. Employees can have a shorter picking path if they can find items that are ordered together right next to each other instead of in random areas of the warehouse.
Good warehouse management software should also help with figuring out what size of container will work best for packing orders into. And it should also help with informing carriers, such as UPS, USPS, and FedEx, that you have packages waiting for them to come and pick up.
How to Make These Changes
Sure, we can talk about lofty warehouse management goals – but how do actually make all of this happen in the real world?
As I hinted in this blog post, a solid warehouse management solution can help you accomplish all of these things. With it, you can:
- Set up auto reorder points on each item stored in your warehouse management system and quickly generate purchase orders to send to vendors.
- Track inventory quantities and locations in multiple warehouses from a single interface.
- Get in-depth reports on sales and other inventory data to help with optimizing warehouse layouts.
- Jumpstart the pick, pack, and ship process by using wireless barcode scanners to plot picking paths and instantly send out shipping requests and packing lists to the appropriate parties.
By implementing warehouse management software and using it to do these four things, you’ll start to see big improvements in your business’s efficiency. It’s about time.