To operate at your best, every part of your business needs to work smoothly. Optimise your warehouse to operate as efficiently as possible to help your business work even better. Create a better workflow to make your warehouse more effective, reduce the amount of stock issues, better handle returns and track any issues.
- Make the most of the warehouse space you have. A sensible layout can make staff tasks run faster, allowing them to get more done in a day. Using all the space in the warehouse effectively will also save you from the cost of having to expand unnecessarily. Separate out storage, sorting, shipping, office and product locations. Clearly mark aisles and shelves so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for. Establish sensible picking routes to keep staff flowing through the warehouse. Store items that sell fast near the front, where they’re easy to get to, and don’t overstock on slower sellers.
- Choose the right delivery options. If you use an outside company to make your deliveries, make sure you’ve chosen the right one. Look for a company who can make regular pick-ups, have good policies to deal with lost, delayed or damaged deliveries and will keep deliveries going into the late hours. If you’re sending out large orders, consider offering next day pallet delivery.
- Provide cleaning tools and plenty of trash cans, and require your staff to be responsible for the individual work areas. This reduces possible trip hazards, from packaging left lying around to slips from spills.
- Make sure all areas are well lit. Warehouses often have dark areas, but this can lead to accidents while picking. Install plenty of lighting to help staff stay alert and reduce the number of accidents.
- Keep everything safe and to a high standard by having regular inspections. Conduct a visual inspection and check that everything is operating as it should be.
- Prioritise safety by making sure your warehouse adheres to any regulations on storing any materials you regularly use, or for operating any machinery. For example, train staff to correctly and safely handle cleaning chemicals, or how to safely drive a forklift truck. Put in place rules to allow staff on foot to work safely around machinery, such as designated walkways and the wearing of hi-vis jackets.
- When products arrive in the warehouse, make sure staff have enough room to unpack them. New stock should be checked for damage, mispicks and quantity. Check in new stock promptly and get it put away so it’s not taking up floor space waiting to be unpacked.
- For order picking, make the process as simple as possible. Don’t keep multiple products in the same place to reduce confusion and mispicks. Keep sale items, top sellers, new items and other products in clearly designated zones. Implement incentives for pickers to encourage faster, more efficient work.
- Simplify packing by using the minimum number of standard shipping packages to keep things moving faster. Invest in packing software to produce accurate shipping labels and invoices. Integrate this with your warehouse system to make sure staff have accurate orders to pack.