To boost warehouse productivity and profits, consider several general strategies. Each of these strategies has different costs and benefits which you should consider before choosing one for implementation.
Optimize Warehouse Organization
An organized warehouse can improve customer satisfaction by promoting quick and accurate shipments. Additionally, an organized warehouse makes optimal use of the space available. The 5S method of lean manufacturing can enhance warehouse organization, reduce clutter and errors, and improve safety. The 5S method includes several steps, including sorting, setting in order, shining, standardizing, and sustaining.
Workstation organization can improve workers’ productivity. Spending less time finding tools or equipment can enable employees to spend more time focused on their core duties.
Streamline Inventory Management and Workflows
Simplifying inventory management and workflows can boost cost savings and profits. Keeping lower levels of excess inventory or getting suppliers to deliver smaller quantities more regularly can result in leaner inventory. Planning an appropriate schedule for the delivery of required items can lower inventory holding costs and reduce production delays caused by items being out of stock. Over time, these efforts can improve productivity and profits.
Use Software Solutions
Facility management software has several benefits. This software can reduce warehouse costs, streamline business processes, and improve space and maintenance management. A warehouse management system (WMS) can optimize a warehouse’s fulfillment chain and make recommendations for the best routes or methods for storing and choosing inventory. These actions can also improve productivity.
WMS systems require a long investment and implementation time frame. A SaaS (software as a service) subscription model can be a feasible alternative since it is available at a lower cost. The warehousing function in the SaaS WMS can improve warehouse efficiency, reduce costs, and improve service delivery.
Tools such as barcode or radio frequency identification (RFID) readers can make transactions more accurate, reduce order picking errors, and provide real-time inventory data to assist with better business decisions. According to research conducted by the University of Arkansas, the use of barcode or RFID readers can increase inventory accuracy by 27 percent in 13 weeks. Barcode readers can assist with the identification of operational bottlenecks and productivity issues. Addressing these issues can improve customer satisfaction and ultimately boost warehouse profits.
Outsource to Third-Party Fulfillment Companies
Shipping and distribution costs are high for many types of businesses. Companies can outsource the fulfillment of orders to third-party fulfillment (3PF) companies. Using a 3PF company can prevent capital from being tied up in new systems and other infrastructure.
Offer Performance Incentives for Employees
By determining the key performance indicators (KPIs) for a warehouse’s performance and costs, you can measure productivity and costs. Monitor these KPIs and provide regular feedback on KPI levels to employees. Providing performance incentives to employees can encourage improved productivity and advancement toward achieving the KPIs as a result.
Using one or more of the above strategies can boost warehouse productivity and profits. To achieve the best results, monitor the impact of the implemented strategy to determine if it was successful in achieving better productivity and higher profits.