The success of a warehouse depends on its role in receiving, storing and shipping products to the right customer at the right time in the right quantities. Thus, running a well-organized efficient warehouse is the most important. The typical warehouse has a considerable amount of activity at any given time, meaning there is always an opportunity to maximize productivity and improve efficiency. The implementation of warehouse technology provides more visibility through data, using warehouse management systems (WMS) software can help plan layout, workflow, and more to increase efficiency in ways with manual observations and calculations. This article discusses the essential techniques for warehouse efficiency.
Table of Contents
Good Warehouse Layout
The foundation of warehouse efficiency starts with a good warehouse layout. A properly designed direct impact on the efficiency and productivity of the warehouse. Using warehouse space effectively allows the warehouse to reduce the time it takes to produce a product, get it out the door, and organize inventory to streamline the process at every stage. A few major areas need to be included in a warehouse layout. These areas are used to organize stock, hold inventory, prepare items for shipping, and receive items to be arranged within the warehouse system.
Each warehouse layout has five main components it houses:
- Loading and unloading area – Where inventory is brought into or taken away from the warehouse.
- Reception area – Where incoming inventory is processed as it comes in.
- Storage area – Where inventory is held in preparation for outgoing delivery.
- Picking area – Where inventory lives before being delivered, allow any necessary modifications to orders as placed.
- Dispatch area – Where fully-prepared shipments are housed before being delivered.
Other principles of a good warehouse layout include making it as clutter-free as possible, improving accessibility to frequently picked goods, and creating a uniform storage environment.
The Receiving Process
Warehouse receiving is the first step of the warehouse process. Goods receiving’ is the function of keeping track of all items coming into the warehouse to ensure that the right products are received and promptly stored in a space in the warehouse. This is an important warehouse function that direct impact all subsequent warehouse processes. A good receiving procedure can help to maintain an efficient warehouse, before the receiving process begins, to establish receiving requirements for suppliers and shippers. Packaging requirements should include the labelling information, palletized or lose cargo, number of packages per pallet, items per carton, and the acceptable package size and weight. When the inventory shipment arrives, warehouse staff unload the cargo, to speed up the unloading process, the use of Power Pallet Trucks is recommended. Warehouse staff inspects the quality, condition, and quantity of any incoming make sure it exactly matches what was requested before storing each item in its assigned location in the warehouse and updating inventory levels. Use of warehouse technology such as barcode scanners or Radio-frequency identification (RFID) to improve the efficiency of the receiving process, track items and reduce human errors. Creating an inspection process that can handle incoming as well as outgoing items is vital to a successful receiving process.
The Process of Picking and Packing
The order picking and packing process is the procedure of pulling inventory from the warehouse and packing them for shipment. This process is one of the first activities in the order fulfilment process and directly impacts customer satisfaction levels. Order picking often requires heavy physical labor, the process can be slowly affected by human error, and unproductive. Prior to the picking and packing stage, create a list with all the product information and an efficient picking route to pick and pack the products more efficiently. For a greater volume of orders, can do batch picking and pack or wave picking and packing, when fulfilling many identical orders that use the same SKUs, use the picking and packing by areas approach. In this method, it will be distributed across different areas to speed up the process. An efficient pick and pack process achieves a higher perfect order rate and improves customer satisfaction.
The Shipping Process
Order shipping is the final stage of warehouse procedures. The order shipping process involves sending and shipping out customer orders to the final destination. Received order information detailing items and quantities and also ensures that have enough inventory in stock to process the order. Warehouse staff picks the right items for the orders using automation and technology, which can help to speed up the order processing. Quality control teams checks are completed, ensure the order quantity is accurate, and verify faulty items before the items are prepared to ship. Once the order has been processed and checked, then placed onto pallets and moved to the loading bay, and the order preparing to be shipped. Before sending the order to the customer ensure that all of the documentation is correct and any issues are addressed. Customer experience greatly depends on delivering the right order in good condition, dispatched to the right customer, and delivered on time.
Inventory Control Technique
Inventory Control is the process of managing its physical stock, tracking and controlling the inflow and outflow of products, and managing finished products ready for sale. The purpose of inventory control is to maximize warehouse inventory use and directly influence customer satisfaction levels and business profitability. Hence, it is important for warehouses to be able to optimize inventory levels and implement cost-saving and profit-boosting inventory control techniques.