Within the highly competitive commercial warehouse sector, warehouse managers face a range of challenges. Firstly, the constant pressure to optimise operational efficiency poses a significant hurdle. Warehouse managers must develop strategies to maximise productivity while minimising costs, which requires careful coordination of resources, equipment, and personnel.
In our latest blog, we will discuss several improvements that are proven to increase the throughput of a warehouse. Whether your warehouse’s focus is a fulfilment centre, bulk storage or a link in a supply chain, increasing throughput is always a beneficial goal.
Understanding this concept is vital for businesses aiming to optimise operations, reduce costs, and enhance customer satisfaction. Below, we have collected five proven improvements to improve your business’s productivity without sacrificing task accuracy.
1. Streamlining Warehouse Processes
Streamlining business processes essentially involves optimising your existing workflows and eliminating any revealed inefficiencies or bottlenecks in the system. This helps businesses operate more efficiently, saving time, reducing costs, and increasing productivity.
Eliminating bottlenecks is especially crucial in streamlining, as these bottlenecks can cause delays and impede the smooth flow of work. Barcode scanning systems have proven to be an effective way to streamline operations. For example, tools such as barcode scanners and software enable businesses to automate data collection whilst reducing manual labour without worrying about emerging errors.
By scanning barcodes, workers quickly retrieve information rather than inputting data manually or searching through files. Companies we’ve worked with have also used mobile barcode scanners to improve inventory tracking, monitor the location of assets, and ensure overall better quality control for their warehouse operations.
With the right equipment, businesses can easily streamline their processes, operate more efficiently, and better serve their customers. But simplifying your warehouse operations will need more than just new equipment; it will need an effective strategy to make the best use of it.
2. WMS Supporting Workflow Designs
Implementing a Warehouse Management System (WMS) is another vital strategy for warehouse optimisation. A WMS enables businesses to streamline inventory management, order processing, and warehouse operations. It provides real-time visibility into stock levels, automates inventory tracking, and guarantees accurate order fulfilment.
To fully leverage the capabilities of a WMS, a robust Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) infrastructure is essential. A reliable WLAN ensures seamless communication between handheld devices, such as barcode scanners, and the WMS itself, enabling real-time data capture, inventory tracking, and order status updates.
Many people assume the wide open spaces of a warehouse will be the perfect environment for strong WLAN signal strength, but this may not always be the case. Certain locations may struggle to maintain clear signals with your devices as increasing amounts of stock are densely stored on your warehouse’s shelving racks. We recommend having an experienced team conduct a wireless network survey of your premises to accurately map out your requirements so you can build complete coverage with no blind spots.
With your working WMS in place, you need a well-designed workflow that optimises resource allocation, whether its assets, staff or stock, whilst minimising wastage. Workflow design is a crucial aspect of enhancing warehouse efficiency. By carefully planning and organising the sequence of operations, innovative ideas will eliminate unnecessary steps, reduce bottlenecks, and ensure a smooth flow of work resulting in significant streamlining, as we mentioned in the first method.
3. Collaborate with your Suppliers
Collaborating with suppliers is a key factor in improving efficiency within a warehouse business. Supplier collaboration involves working closely with suppliers to optimise the supply chain around you, up and downstream. By establishing effective collaboration, businesses can benefit from improved communication, inventory management, and overall operational efficiency.
To enhance collaboration with suppliers, specific strategies can be implemented. For example, one strategy is the use of shared inventory systems. By sharing real-time inventory data, the business and suppliers can have complete visibility into stock levels. This enables accurate demand forecasting, reduces the risk of stockouts or overstocks, and fosters better planning and coordination.
Automated ordering is another effective strategy for supplier collaboration. Automated ordering systems can similarly be integrated with suppliers’ systems, allowing for seamless and efficient replenishment of goods. This not only saves time but can also lead to cost savings and improved delivery times.
Mobile computers and other equipment we provide will greatly facilitate supplier collaboration. By using barcode scanning devices, businesses can efficiently track inventory, automatically update stock levels, and ensure accurate order fulfilment. This enables seamless collaboration with suppliers and a significantly improved working method for your warehouse.
4. Labour Management
We’ve discussed a lot of asset management solutions with equipment and software, but by optimising labour management, businesses will achieve significant benefits in efficiency.
Like automated ordering, you can use forecasting demand to accurately maintain a labour balance with your team and better manage their workforce. This involves adjusting staffing levels and ensuring efficient and cost-effective labour allocation.
Adequate employee training and development are also included in effective labour management. Performance tracking systems enable businesses to monitor employee performance, identify areas for improvement, and reward high performers. By regularly evaluating employee performance, businesses can make data-driven decisions, optimise their labour force, and achieve better outcomes.
5. Optimise your Warehouse Layout
The warehouse layout will significantly impact efficiency levels, regardless of how much equipment or staff training you invest in. An optimised warehouse layout can streamline operations, reduce travel distances, and enhance overall productivity.
For example, an ABC analysis categorises value-based inventory, enabling businesses to store high-demand items closer to the shipping area for easy access. Less frequently ordered items are positioned further away, reducing unnecessary travel. This is one of the many data factors that should be included in your WMS.
Barcode labels and signage play a crucial role in optimising warehouse layout. By labelling and signposting aisles, shelves, and pick locations with barcodes, workers can quickly and accurately identify the correct areas for picking and storing items. This simplifies navigation, reduces errors, and enhances overall efficiency.
Essential Warehouse Management Equipment from GSM Barcoding
We at GSM Barcoding have developed a deep understanding of warehouse managers’ challenges to create an efficient warehouse management system. By implementing the five beneficial methods discussed, you’ll unleash the full potential of your warehouse operations and establish a superior barcoding system. We are fully dedicated to providing tailored solutions that align with your business needs and goals.
Get in touch with us today and discover how our exceptional services will improve your organisation and elevate your warehouse operations to new heights.