A successful warehouse is a facility in which the costs of handling goods are reduced, productivity is increased and the highest quality of service is provided to the customer.
Given the importance of a warehouse for the activity of any company, we have compiled a list of tips to follow to increase the efficiency of your warehouse and thus achieve a perfect organization of operations and available resources.
1. Optimize warehouse layout
Optimizing the layout , that is, the layout of a warehouse, is a way of maximizing space and facilitating the operations carried out in the logistics facility. An efficient warehouse is equipped with storage systems that increase Colorado Truck Dispatch Services productivity and allow optimal use of the available surface. Warehouses can be equip with manual solutions (operators deposit and withdraw goods from their locations) or automat solutions (handling machines manage goods).
2. Install signage in the warehouse
Warehouse signage is a preventative measure to minimize risk to logistics professionals. In high-performance warehouses, colors, pictograms, luminous panels and sound signals are used to help operators identify restrict access areas or areas where forklifts are circulating. Signaling is used to ensure the safety of operators and goods, while increasing efficiency. In a properly signpost warehouse, the movements and actions of the operators are well defined to avoid possible accidents and maximize the productivity rate of each operation.
3. Label products
Goods coding is a key process to achieving efficiency in a warehouse. Products should be properly labeled with barcodes , QR codes or RFID tags to simplify their identification and location . The codification of products allows the company to quickly access information concerning each item, for example its reference, its date of arrival at the warehouse, its date of packaging, its composition or its dangerousness. By correctly coding the goods, it is possible to ensure total traceability of the products and therefore to rationalize the operations in the warehouse.
4. Classify stocks according to their turnover rate (ABC method)
Proper organization of goods has a positive effect on the various operations that take place in the warehouse. Classification of goods according to the ABC method makes it possible to organize the products according to their importance for the company, their value and their turnover. It is an organization of goods according to the 80/20 rule , that is to say that 20% of the articles represent 80% of the flow of goods. According to the ABC method, for example, best-selling products are usually placed near loading docks to speed up their entry and exit.
5. Define order preparation criteria
The performance of the warehouse requires the implementation of a method that allows the preparation of the greatest number of orders possible . This will depend on the number of daily orders, the dimensions and characteristics of the items and the size of the warehouse. What are the most common order picking methods? One of them is the so-called “man to product” method , which means that operators travel through the warehouse to the locations to pick up the products that make up each order. The other is “product-to-person” (also called goods-to-person ).), this method eliminates operator travel and therefore increases performance.
6. Implement a cross-docking strategy when possible
A warehouse can achieve greater efficiency by eliminating unnecessary operations. One way to achieve this is through cross-docking , a technique where goods arrive at the warehouse and are ship almost immediately. Thus, the products are store for a very short period or not at all.
7. Digitize warehouse management
Digitizing the warehouse is the first step towards logistics efficiency. An essential tool is the warehouse management software (eg Easy WMS from Mecalux) . This program becomes the brain of the installation, coordinating all the processes and guiding the operators in each of the tasks assigned to them. The implementation of this software eliminates the risk of error in the flow of goods, in the extraction and storage of products, as well as in the preparation of orders. This system also speeds up operations, since it reduces the distances traveled and automates decisions. In addition, it manages to increase the effective capacity of the warehouse through intelligent space management.
8. Plan inventory
Stock is the main asset of any business, so their proper stock management is crucial. Stock shortages , due to a lack of planning, lead to delays in deliveries. On the other hand, there may be excess stock in the warehouse, which increases costs and the risk of deterioration of the goods. How to plan inventory in an efficient warehouse? With the help of technology.
9. Check inventory in real time
Real-time inventory control is essential for companies that manage a wide range of SKUs or have multiple logistics facilities and points of sale. The logistics manager thus has total visibility of the stocks, for complete traceability of the goods and to avoid stock losses.
10. Reduce trips to the warehouse
In this way, each operator works in the area assigned to him without having to walk through the entire warehouse to locate the products. Management software designs the most appropriate picking routes and flow of goods.
11. Simplify shipping
The shipment of goods is a fundamental step in ensuring a good logistics service. The use of specific software for this phase (such as Mecalux’s Multi-carrier shipment preparation and management module) allows for a fast and efficient shipment process . This type of program integrates with the software of major transport agencies to generate error-free labels for carriers and delivery slips for each shipment.
12. Use picking aids
Order picking is one of the most demanding operations in a warehouse. In order to increase the productivity of this operation, there are
picking aid devices that guide operators at all times , in addition to reducing the risk of errors. How do they work? Thus, they can prepare a greater number of orders in the shortest time.
13. Organize storage locations in the warehouse
Organizing goods in the warehouse is a complex process that can generate additional costs when managed manually. Manual management of goods can lead to a decrease in effective capacity and increase the complexity of operators’ routes. In warehouses storing a large number of references, the management software organizes the locations efficiently. For example, Mecalux’s Easy WMS has software for slotting which analyzes the demand and
turnover of products with the aim of automatically assigning the optimal location to each reference.
14. Synchronize stock from warehouse to physical online stores
Omnichannel has made logistics more complex, as it required companies to synchronize their inventory across multiple outlets (both online and in physical stores). Any discrepancy between warehouse stock and what appears on the website or marketplace may delay the delivery of an order. To meet the challenges of omnichannel, companies are turning to digital solutions. For example, Marketplace & E-commerce Platforms Integration and Store fulfillment softwareof Mecalux synchronize the warehouse stock with the various online points of sale and physical stores.
15. Increase warehouse storage capacity
To increase efficiency, it is essential to make the best use of storage capacity . Many solutions are possible to add storage space without having to increase its floor area:
in the case of picking warehouses, it is possible to install mezzanines , which multiply
the levels of the installation, or dynamic shelving (FIFO) , which increases storage depth and streamlines order picking.
There are also solutions to increase storage capacity in warehouses equipped with
pallet racks such as mobile pallet racks , drive-in racksand the Pallet Shuttle system.