Warehouse optimization is something that never really ends. There’s always something that can be shifted, changed, or moved to make your warehouse better optimized for growth and efficiency. To help you make a shift towards warehouse optimization, we’ve created this blog with expert tips for 2020 and 2021 warehouse optimization. To be fair, these tips have stood a test of time beyond just these years, but they’re exceptionally useful during these times.
Let’s dive in and find out some real ways that you can shift your warehouse to become a more well-oiled and smooth-running machine.
What is Warehouse Optimization?
Before looking intently into strategies for optimization, let’s talk through what warehouse optimization is exactly.
Warehouse optimization is a disciplined and determined process used to achieve more efficient practices while not sacrificing quality or making any errors. Ideally, it will improve all forms of warehouse communication, flexibility, management, and customer satisfaction. The process of optimizing a warehouse is especially crucial for warehouses that work in more lean industries or industries where there is a low margin for profitability.
A properly optimized warehouse will address these items:
- Inventory accuracy
- Inventory location
- Space utilization and warehouse layout
- Redundant processes
- Picking optimization
Now let’s get started with the tips to address these different factors.
11 Expert Tips
Here are 11 expert tips that are sure to take your warehouse to the next level!
Warehouse Layout and Organization
Space optimization in warehouse environments is key for long term success and growth. If you’re not making the most of every inch in your warehouse, then you’re probably losing money somewhere.
Here are a few keys that you can take and use in your warehouse layout optimization and organization design plans.
1 Meet Your Needs but Allow for Growth
Ultimately this is going to be one of the bigger factors when it comes to the layout. You’ll need to make sure that your space can meet your needs but that it will also allow for growth. A proper layout will also help your warehouse be more efficient.
2 Design Your Warehouse Space so that the Most Picked Items are Closest
By doing this, you’ll save the time and energy of your employees so that they don’t have to be running across whole portions of your warehouse in order to fulfill orders.
3 Strive for 85% Occupancy to Avoid Clutter
Clutter is something that can really take a toll on the production speed of your employees. Instead, try to keep your warehouse to only 85%, and in that way, you can ensure that your employees will be able to find what they need easily without sorting through a massive amount of inventory.
Tips for Optimizing Warehouse Workflow + Processes
Workflow and processes are some of the hardest things items when you’re working to optimize your warehouse. But they can be some of the most beneficial when it comes to speeding up your supply chain.
4 Standardize Your Processes
By eliminating any variations in receiving, shipping, billing, and other items that can, at times, be variable. You’re looking for different items that you can turn into a best practices process so that everyone in your warehouse knows how to handle different situations.
5 Partner with Different Shipping Providers to Offer Customers Different Options.
Doing this will make a difference in your workflow and processes, but it will also help improve sales and customer satisfaction.
6 Know Your Ideal Staffing Requirements
If you, as a warehouse manager haven’t developed ideal staffing requirements, then you’re hurting your warehouse and how well it could perform. By creating an outline with the ideal number of employees in their respective positions, you’ll be able to optimize your employees’ workflow and ensure that they’re doing everything they can to keep your warehouse running smoothly.
Warehouse Inventory Optimization Tips
Inventory optimization will help you to continue to sell more of the products that are doing well and less of the products that aren’t selling. With a good inventory plan, you’ll be able to increase profitability and stop wasting space with inventory that’s hurting your bottom line.
7 Understand Which Inventory Items are Fast, Medium, and Slow Movers
By classifying your inventory in this way, you can prioritize where items are placed and order what you need in larger or smaller quantities accordingly.
8 Use Slotting to Store Items More Efficiently
By slotting items you’ll be able to not only speed up the picking process but also improve the handling of these items.
9 Remove Excess or Unwanted Inventory
Excess inventory that isn’t selling is taking up valuable space on your warehouse floor. You need to remove these items to ensure that your warehouse isn’t bloated with items that you’ll never use.
Optimize Your Warehouse with Tools and Technology
Tools and technology is the last area of optimization that we’re going to talk about. Note that most inventory management software solutions will be able to serve multiple purposes. This includes data collection, forecasting supply chain, stock automatization, and more.
10 Automate the Receiving Process to Reduce Errors
With a barcode inventory management system, you’ll be able to create barcodes as inventory comes in. This will allow you to automate the system and, in turn, reduce errors of lost inventory.
11 Use Forecasting to Ensure That You’re Never Out of a Product
Stock will need to be reordered as you sell different items. An inventory management system will be able to alert you and can automate the process of ordering more stock.
You can use these warehouse management tips throughout the process of optimizing your warehouse to see improved efficiencies and profit. If you’re in need of an inventory management tool, reach out to Scout today. Our tool, topShelf, is a state of the art inventory management solution that works with any smart device. You’ll be able to forecast, track orders, and integrate it into your other business tools. Reach out to us today for a free demo!