All too often, clients share stories regarding supplies arriving with poor labelling, parts being stored incorrectly, operations halted by manual cycle counts and carriers waiting idle for shipments that are not ready. However, the focus for warehouse operations traditionally has been on efficiencies and error reduction in order picking. This focus overlooks the potential to make improvements throughout the process, from receiving through shipping. Whether you are responsible for a large or small distribution center, below are four methods to ensure your warehouse processes are under control and efficiently managed.
- Inventory control – Control of inventory, enables management to accurately view stock levels and ensure on-time delivery to customers. It is the heart of warehousing. These processes include the racking of items from suppliers, sales and order processing, delivery, returns, and picking and accounting. By reducing manual work and the associated risk of error, effective inventory maintenance allows you to keep customers accurately informed regarding their order information.
- Evaluate your process before implementing software – Once stable warehouse operations have been accepted, maintenance and operations divisions should work to improve their pre-planning efforts. Initially, this appears to be a difficult task. Organizing, storing, identifying and properly managing thousands of disparate warehouse items can create issues when preparing for software implementation. Creating a strategy that is simple, straightforward and thorough is critical to a successful maintenance repair and operations (MRO) warehouse.
- Safeguard your facility – Prohibiting unauthorized people near inventory protects both your property and employees. Displaying signs in areas where only warehouse personnel are permitted, and installing physical barriers are two recommendations to increase security. If not already in use, consider requiring badges and uniforms to identify warehouse workers easily.
- Real-time inventory visibility – With an ever-growing collection of internet of thins (IoT) enabled devices from which to browse, as well as ever-increasing efficiency of shipping operations, consumer expectations are at an all-time high. That typically includes immediate service and a seamless customer experience. The key to meeting and exceeding these expectations is to improve your company’s omni-channel fulfillment performance, starting with inventory visibility.
From integrating and automating processes, to adopting the multiple functions of technology, there are numerous ways to increase warehouse inventory visibility and operational efficiency. Not every warehouse assessment must begin with a software inclusion. When deciding how you can optimize changes, list all of your processes, and methodically analyze each one. Determine if that part of the operation is required, and if it is, ask why it is required and if it is as efficiency as it could be. Employing these practices is a great starting place. As you gauge these functions, evaluate how your productivity is improving. Our operations and supply chain team at RSM is ready to help you move forward with establishing a strong visibility to your warehouse and inventory functions. To learn more, please contact us at 800.274.3978 or email us.