Planning & embracing new technologies can take your warehouse optimisation to the next level and improve efficiency & profitability in the process.
It’s undeniable that profitability in wholesale is more challenging than ever during these current challenging times. But, it’s also a great time to leverage advanced warehouse management technologies to boost profits. How is you warehouse optimisation performing? Is your WMS working to full potential?
As an ambitious business owner, you plan to ensure your business continues to grow year in year out. Being able to anticipate demand and preparing stock is all part of the planning. But a warehouse optimisation can be overwhelming and needs to be top of your list.
Would be surprised to learn that 43% of small businesses either don’t track inventory or simply use manual processes? Are you one of them? If so, it’s time to look at automation and cloud WMS solutions to improve your efficiency and profitability. Don’t be one of the 34% of companies who are prone to late shipments because products which aren’t in stock were actually sold to customers. That’s sure to bring negative reviews and harm your customer service whilst running the risk the customer will not return.
Does any of the above ring any alarm bells?
If so, all you need to do is focus on how to optimise warehouse operations and take advantage of the latest Cloud WMS solutions.
Warehouse optimisation consists of processes that you can implement to improve your warehouse’s space and resources drastically. Moreover, by embracing appropriate technological solutions, automating tasks, and careful planning, your business will become more efficient. And as you leverage warehousing operations, you’ll be able to enhance customer satisfaction and experience.
Warehouse optimisation is within your reach
Here is a list of warehouse optimisation solutions that can help you address common problems that warehouse owners have.
1. Design an efficient layout
Every warehouse has unique warehousing needs. Create a floor plan that meets yours. But remember to leave enough margin to support growth.
A good warehouse plan has an efficient layout that combines operations along with storage. Moreover, it’s symbolised by smooth traffic flows within and outside the facility. Warehouse space optimisation techniques include leaving enough aisle width to facilitate movement, positioning items according to demand, right-sizing the slots, positioning of docking doors, etc.
2. Utilise a warehouse labelling system
By marking and labelling the aisles and racks, it will be easier to recognise where products need to be placed. Ensure that labels are legible from a distance.
But with a modern warehouse management software, you can assign barcodes for each rack, column, and row. A scanner can be used to identify where shipments are stowed.
3. Optimise the use of available space
You might be able to take advantage of the clear span height. Vertical racking is one of the easiest techniques for warehouse space optimisation. Assess how much cubic feet of vertical space is available. You must leave adequate gaps between beams to allow forklifts to operate smoothly. More importantly, the design should not obstruct sprinkler design or violate the local fire code.
4. Standardise operations
Adopt standard procedures for all warehouse operations, whether for loading, unloading, routing, storing, shift scheduling, accounts, facilities management, etc. This will help save time and optimise workflows.
5. Automate inventory and routing
Running a business is all about keeping customers happy. And that entails making deliveries on time. Automating tasks can help speed up processes, streamline operations, reduce the chances of human error, and boost your warehouse optimisation efforts. With the right technology overseeing inventory and delivery operations, you’ll be able to make sense of it all.
For example, order routing automation can ensure that packages go to the right collections area faster by. And automating the stowing and picking process can keep everything organised and prevent it from being misplaced. Above all, establishing par levels and doing inventory analysis can help eliminate excess stock from building up or investing in items that don’t sell as fast.
6. Invest in the right warehouse management software (WMS)
Depending on your budget, you may need to make smart technology investments. An end-to-end WMS can make managing your warehouse a breeze. Choosing a comprehensive software can facilitate various aspects of your business, from warehousing and inventory management to route planning and distribution, and beyond. Using integrated solutions will allow all activities to be managed seamlessly from one unified platform.
7. Storage systems
Good warehouse planning means analysing the physical requirements of the products and the storage system of your warehouse. Bulky, heavy, or irregularly shaped items need to be handled and stored carefully to avoid being damaged. On the other hand, store frequently-picked items or essential products inaccessible locations to reduce travel time and improve efficiency.
Devise storage systems that allow employees to practice FIFO (first in, first out). Moreover, to avoid storage congestion, do not go beyond 85% occupancy.
8. Understand product velocity
Effective warehouse design and layout facilitates the retrieval, storage, and shipping of fast-moving or high-demand products. Therefore, you need to understand the product velocity of the items in your warehouse. This can be looking at the rate at which they sell.
Items with a high velocity should be stored in easily accessible racks or close to the packing area to reduce travel time and speed up operations. Consider relocating products that have only a seasonal demand onto higher shelves.
9. Explore robotic technology
Emerging trends and innovations are giving way to boundless technological advancements. Gone are the days when forklifts and robotic arms were the only technologies seen in warehouses. Currently, indoor navigation technology is transitioning from automated to autonomous. It’s the era of autonomous carts and drones.
Research finds that the market for mobile robots, drones, and autonomous vehicles in warehousing and delivery may reach a staggering £62 billion by 2030. While the cost of these technologically advanced machines is higher, ROIs can be seen close to a year. Don’t forget to investigate the latest AMRs robots which are more affordable and require minimal disruption to your warehouse.
Warehouse optimisation takes thorough planning. So don’t expect to get results overnight. Bringing your warehouse and the internal operations to the next level can take time.
To smoothen out the onboarding process, make sure to discuss plans with your managers, employees, and gather their feedback. Clearly communicating the benefits of why you need to adopt the latest technologies and techniques. More importantly, provide free training sessions so that employees can utilise new machinery, software, or tools effectively.
Make sure you re-evaluate your optimisation plans regularly in order to assess whether the new processes are being implemented appropriately. This will also provide opportunities for you to make adjustments if needed.
Are you ready to take your warehouse to the next level?
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale/retail distribution, online fulfillment, and manufacturing warehousing.