Warehouse management refers to controlling what happens in a warehouse – from staff and equipment processes to how goods are sorted and stored. Smart warehouse management can have a significant impact on inventory holding costs and maintaining an effective fulfilment process. When your warehousing system is well set up, you can process orders faster and more accurately, resulting in an improved customer experience and increased profitability.
Best practices for a well-run warehouse
Utilize these warehouse management best practices to rectify any warehouse management issues and ensure your operations are efficient.
Keeping your goods well organized is key to making sure nothing is overlooked, and products can be found and sorted easily. Make sure you have a straightforward labeling system and give all your products a unique SKU code using an SKU generator.
Appropriate storage and layout
Make sure your storage facilities are equipped to keep your goods in an optimal environment where they won’t be exposed to the elements or risk being tarnished. Your layout should also be intuitive and make sense for your specific fulfillment process, as even a minor accessibility issue can make a big difference to efficiency.
Whether you’re a team of two or two hundred, it’s important to have defined processes outlined for picking, packing, tracking, reporting, and any other operations. Ensuring all staff follow the same procedures leaves less room for human error and maximizes efficiency.
Reducing manual processes helps mitigate the risk of errors and cuts down on operational costs. Consider implementing processes like automatic data collection, hands-free order selection, and barcode scanners (instead of manual labeling) to maximize cost-effectiveness and ensure accuracy.
Safety is paramount in any warehouse setting, so it’s imperative to have well-defined safety baseline standards and emergency instructions that are regularly communicated to staff members. You should also have dedicated safety personnel who are focused on monitoring and enforcing safety codes regularly. Take advantage of the OSHA 10 hour training to make sure your employees are up to date on the latest safety information.
Depending on the scope of your business, you might find that it’s more efficient to have multiple warehouse locations where you can quickly and easily fulfill orders for customers in different locations. If you do have multiple warehouses, ensure fulfillment and safety procedures are uniform across all locations.
Regular auditing and stocktakes
From fulfillment to safety to stock, you should continually evaluate your warehousing processes to keep operations running smoothly and identify any areas where improvements need to be made. Set up regular auditing to check actual processes against ideal processes, and make adjustments where necessary.
Know your reorder point
Keeping inventory holding costs to a minimum is all about knowing the right time to reorder stock. Use the reorder point formula to calculate when you need to make a purchase order so you can avoid being left with too much or too little stock.
Efficiently manage returns
Dedicate a specific area of your warehouse to inspecting and processing returns. By quickly and automatically linking your returns to your warehouse inventory, you’ll make stock available to new customers faster – resulting in more sales and happier customers.
Invest in an inventory management system
As most business owners know, smart warehouse management today is all about utilizing the right tools and technology. By investing in sophisticated inventory management software, you can cut down on operational costs, improve accuracy, streamline operations, and use valuable data to continually improve processes. Inventory management software is a no-brainer for business owners who are serious about growing their business and maximizing profits.
Improve your warehouse management processes by starting a free 14-day trial of TradeGecko’s inventory management system