There are hundreds of warehouses in the UK, utilising millions of square feet of storage. Across those facilities, many are making some common warehouse mistakes. Are you?
Reliance on paperwork
It’s surprising how many warehouse operations still rely so heavily on paperwork. Even very large ecommerce businesses are still printing out picking sheets for their operatives to work from. Have a look at the next delivery sheet you get to see if the picker has circled the number of items required or ticked the lines off.
Picking by paper can be slow and is prone to error. Documents go missing There are many other more automated picking method that use technology to assist the worker. Picking to light, voice picking and goods to person strategies can all help speed up warehouse processes and improve accuracy.
Holding excess stock
It may be nice to feel you always have enough stock to cover any sudden rush of orders. Or perhaps you’re a wholesaler that can’t resist a great bulk-buy offer. But holding too much stock ties up your money. And until it’s sold, with money tied up in product, your cash flow will suffer.
Planning and inventory forecasting software can help you recognise variability in demand and plan for seasonal items. It helps with optimisation of existing stock and planning for replenishment of new items.
Not using the best picking strategies
There are many picking methods – and not all of them will be suitable for your business.
Zone picking, wave picking, batch picking, goods to person, task interleaving? Choosing the right method for your particular operation will mean picking gets done faster and more efficiently. And if you can maximise your operatives’ time, then costs will be reduced. You won’t have the cost of paying employees to walk further and for longer than they need to.
Poor warehouse layout
Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all way to approach how best to lay out a warehouse. Choices come down to the type of products being stored, the number of SKUs, the size and weight of items, the picking strategies you use, whether products are temperature sensitive or have short use-by dates, and so on.
All these factors need to be considered when laying out your warehouse. Getting the layout right means that your products are in the optimum locations and that the worker flow through the warehouse is efficient. Your warehouse layout should be uniquely designed to meet all the needs of your particular business.
Business intelligence from your ERP will show which products sell the best and therefore need to be easily accessible. And other strategies can be employed, such as using slotting to identify where best to locate which SKUs, or cross-docking for fast-moving items.
Clinging to manual processes
Manual processes take time and can be inaccurate. Imagine if you’re manually checking stock levels, or noting when deliveries have been missed, or manually calculating KPI reports. All these processes – and many more – can be automated so that they are always carried out and action can be taken if necessary.
Automating alerts from within your warehouse systems can save so much time and ensure far better precision. All sorts of alerts can be set up according to certain conditions. For example, you can be alerted if your stock holding is too high or too low; or if stock is nearing its shelf life; where product has been added to the WMS without vital technical information; if shipments have not turned up; or if refrigeration equipment suddenly changes in temperature – and so much more.
You can automate with ASN receiving, or by emailing shipping notifications on despatch. You can publish real-time stock levels to customer-facing ecommerce websites, and generate and publish KPI data.
Are you making these common warehouse mistakes?
So, how did you stack up? Are you making these common warehouse mistakes? Or are your operations running efficiently and profitably?
If you’re struggling with these warehouse mistakes, then WMS, inventory planning software and warehouse simulation can solve many of the issues that face warehouse management today. In the final analysis, your business will benefit by operating more smoothly and efficiently.
If you’d like any help with layout or picking simulations, stock planning or implementing new automation or software, call us on 020 8819 9071 or get in touch for a quote.