Warehouse operations are critical to determining the bottom line of companies. The efficient management of warehouse operations obviously involves bringing down operational costs. Every organization needs well planned strategies in place to increase warehouse productivity. In a world of cut-throat competition and volatile economic climate, maximizing business profits involves wise spending that ensures good quality of service offered at reduced costs. This calls for implementation of efficient processes in place.
Protection of inventory, labor, technology, equipment, freight, storage and energy consumption are key areas that need to be streamlined for smooth, sustainable warehouse operations.
Your inventory needs protection from internal and external theft, misplacement and physical damage. Have state-of-the-art security systems and a rotational guard system to ensure the physical safety of your stock. Have a slotting program in place to help optimize material handling as well as warehouse space utilization. Good packaging, efficient storage procedures and well trained employees help prevent accidental damage.
Reducing labor costs doesn’t mean paying employees less or reducing head count. Your employees need the drive to put in their best efforts. Performance-driven incentive schemes can improve employee productivity. Bear in mind that hiring and training newbies incurs more costs than retaining experienced employees. Further, periodic training helps improve efficiencies and productivity. Automation, though expensive at the installation stage, is another factor that can curb costs significantly in the long run.
Adopt an efficient Warehouse Management System (WMS) so you have important data at your fingertips. Subscribing to an SaaS model definitely helps acquire technology at a relatively lesser cost. It is advisable to compare the cost of the long term use of SaaS against the one-time expense of buying it before making a decision. Implementing voice-enabled technology, and put-to-light and pick-to-light solutions help reduce the costs of warehouse operations to a great extent.
Equipment is expensive so making the best use of it is crucial in warehouse operations. Use the same equipment for multiple tasks rather than unnecessarily buying more than one machine when a one is capable of handling several jobs. Also, preventive maintenance will pay dividends by ensuring smooth running of your equipment.
Organizations tend to pay more attention to outbound freight, ignoring the inbound freight costs. Transport, storage and delivery of goods coming into a business require your attention as much as the transport, storage and delivery of goods going out of it. Build a cross docking terminal to move goods more efficiently. Cross docking involves unloading products from an inbound carrier and loading them directly into an outbound carrier, sans any storage in between. This saves money, labor and time on product management and storage.
The key is to store more in less space by having optimal storage procedures in place. Arrange your products in aisles to enable faster navigation for both machinery and employees. Assessing the dimensions of different forklifts required for various products is essential in this regard. Set the dimensions of aisles as required for machinery access and subsequently arrange your inventory accordingly. Maintain the right width for the aisles to facilitate smoother navigation as well as efficient space utilization. Using narrow and tall racks is another measure that helps optimal use of storage space.
Follow cost-effective measures to reduce the consumption of energy in you warehouse. Having an automated lighting system in place will help you save energy. Installation of windows wherever possible will help get more daylight, thus reducing your power consumption. LED lighting is yet another aspect that helps considerable reduction of your energy costs.
Efficient warehouse operations enable your business to ship and receive the right stock at the right time, in a faster, more productive way. In short, for a warehouse to operate efficiently it must primarily house products in buyable condition that can be accessed at the right location at the right time to effect fast delivery.
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