Does your warehouse need some help? Start with the following tips to get you started towards the improvements in overall efficiency.
1. Be an investigator – Question your processes.
Warehouse operations are typically repetitive and processes are in place to get products out as quickly as possible. When was the last time you checked on those processes to evaluate any bottlenecks? Be thorough in your analysis of your current process.
-Is the process necessary at all?
-Is the process in need of change?
-What, if any steps could be eliminated or even automated?
-Are you being efficient with your technology?
-What technology enhancements or products could lead to an improvement in efficiency?
Let’s look at this example: Your current process includes a single printing station at the back of the facility and your operations requires printing at several areas and locations. The desired outcome may be to invest in mobile printers or have a centralized location for printing and the materials needed for printing so there is less time wasted by personnel walking back and forth.
This in-depth look into your processes will provide you insight into what’s working and what decisions can be made to improve the performance of your warehouse. After you’ve examined each process individually, step back and look at your warehouse as a whole for additional opportunities. Keep in mind that reviewing on both levels and make adjustments now can save you time and money in the future. With the knowledge of what can improve your business, you’ll want to begin to your strategic plans to implement your changes whether they are in the short or long term.
2. Keep your options open – Be familiar with the physical state of your assets.
Reviewing your plans for growth and your current warehouse space – size and location may lead to new opportunities. The biggest deciding factor would be the cost to relocate your facility and if it costs more to move. If you have the ability to move, you will want to research locations that offer a lower cost to lease, be in a better location near a major port (lowering fuel cost), or lease more space for less money.
Beyond the warehouse size and location, how is your equipment performing? Having the top of the line equipment will definitely help improve the performance of your warehouse, but as you know, these are expensive investments. Assess each piece of equipment individually by it’s proficiency in it’s current function, and analyze it’s performance during peak operations. Is the equipment malfunctioning frequently or running slow? This could be costing you more money than the cost of a replacement.
Even when equipment is performing at optimum levels it is important to plan for your future growth and know when to make investments in warehouse automation and technology advancements.
Which leads into the last point.
3. Don’t fall behind – Technology Upgrades and Updates set you apart.
How is your warehouse management system technology? Taking an investigative look into your current technology can you help you understand and identify where current systems may be adequate or may be falling short. It is important to understand the costs involved with any upgrades or updates in technology and not just on the investment side. Systems that are falling short, are costing you money as well.
Start by understanding what your current systems actually can do, not just what you are using them for. There are many parts of warehouse management systems that you may not have been ready to use in the past, but could be a great help now and in the future, and chances are, you’re paying to use these capabilities even if you are not using them now. Find out if there are additional capabilities that your system can do that will lead your business to improve performance overall.
How does your wireless infrastructure affect your systems? Wireless that is older than two years old should be evaluated to check performance. Advancements in wireless in the warehouse continues to increase speed, reliability, and overall performance. Read more on wireless standards and 802.11ac
Keep in mind that there are a few options when looking to update and upgrade your technology. Read more about your options and when the best time to invest in upgrades and updates will provide the highest ROI.
Looking to take the next steps and improve the performance of your warehouse?
Call AB&R® Today 800-281-3056
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