10 Best Practices to Optimize Warehouse Operations

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Sorting out the differences amongst the hundreds of Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) that optimize warehouse operations can be complicated and time-consuming. However, an efficiently optimized warehouse is vital to the continued success and growth of your company.  Read on for more insights.

Why Optimizing Warehouse Operations is Important

Inbound Logistics notes that optimizing warehouse operations is essential to a successful business model. In today’s fast-paced manufacturing arena, non-optimized processes can quickly go awry and become an overnight disaster. In today’s markets, aggressive competition inspires companies to develop efficient supply chains with accurate and consistent inventory turnover to achieve sustainable cash flows.

Better Visibility

Better visibility facilitates more accurate business models, helping teams avoid over-or underproduction of inventory. WMS centralizes production-line operations, providing companies more real-time access to relevant data needed to modify operation schedules.

Optimizing Your Warehouse Operations

Optimizing your warehouse operations means identifying and correcting inefficiencies. Order management should also be addressed when optimizing warehouse operations. Setting up an order management system is a big project, which is why you should breakout your projects into stages. An excellent tool for this is a process map, which graphically defines each phase, from the time an order is first placed all the way through fulfillment and follow-up with the customer.

Collaborative Mobile Robots

Technologies such as collaborative mobile robots can also optimize resource management, improving productivity. Technology investments and continuous evaluations by warehouse operators help businesses respond quickly to changing market conditions.

Here are ten of the best practices to optimize warehouse operations:

  1. Receiving. Ensure employees have ample space to unload and process the inventory.
  2. Floor PlanAn efficient layout is central to warehouse optimization. Workers’ safety is the primary consideration of any floor plan. Identify where the different stations are located relative to each other. Keep your aisles clear and revamp your racks. Assigning designated paths for equipment and pedestrians reduces potential safety hazards and increases productivity; use visible signage.
  3. Parts Accessibility. Reduce “travel time” by stocking frequently used or essential parts in the most accessible areas. Reliable Plant suggests ensuring that bins and container space are maximized.
  4. QC Area. Implement a standardized quality control process.
  5. Hard Boundaries. Set rigid boundaries for each zone to prevent crowding out other operations. 
  6. Standardization. By standardizing your processes, you minimize variations in the various stages, i.e., facilities management, unloading, shift scheduling, saving you time and money, and reducing errors.
  7. Shipping Options. Establish relations with multiple shipping vendors and offer your clients the best options and prices for various shipping speeds. Don’t lose a sale if one of your providers falls through.
  8. Shift Schedules. Review your shift schedules to ensure you are not top-heavy with employees.
  9. Adaptability. Supply chains are entities that evolve as market conditions and business strategies change. Ensure your supply chain is adaptable.
  10. Reverse Logistics. Ensure that delivery windows, return processes, and return timelines align with the industry—your return timeline should be as efficient and hassle-free as your ordering process.

Be More Competitive

Effectively managing your warehouse operations is vital to the success of your company. While it can be a challenge, it’s not impossible and resources are available to assist you.

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