When it comes to warehousing and distribution services, or supply chain management in general, keeping costs low is always important. While you should always make sure you are getting quality services, this doesn’t have to mean paying top dollar every time. There are numerous ways that even existing warehousing and distributions services can be tweaked and adjusted to improve savings and enhance efficiency.
How to Enhance Warehouse Efficiency
Reduce Travel Times
Warehouses can reach the point where they become immense, sprawling spaces. While this is good for storage, it can also create situations where order pickers end up wasting a lot of time going from one spot to the next. Look for ways to streamline the pick-and-pack process so that it is easier to move about and less distance has to be crossed. Flow racks or flow path optimization are great ways to address this.
Move Orders to Zones
This is sort of the opposite of the above tip. While reducing travel time is about reducing the movement of workers, this tip is about improving the flow of materials and products themselves. Consider only sending order containers to warehouse zones where active picking is required, for example.
Eliminate Travel, Split Case Selection, and Replenishment
Instead of having your pickers go and locate items, why not bring the items to the picker? Automated staging storage and goods-to-person picking stations can make use of technology to enhance the flow of products through the warehouse.
A layer picker is a type of robot that is best imagined as a sort of “super forklift.” These machines are able to take single or multiple layers and build or move mixed-load pallets with ease. These are extremely useful devices in any situation with large amounts of pallet products.
Control Inbound and Outbound Freight
The services that you use to move freight in and out of your warehouse are some of the largest sources of growing costs in the industry. While you will naturally have less control over the shipping side of the supply chain, that is no reason to let costs get away from you. Focus on competitive bidding and look for areas in your carrier agreements where reductions can be negotiated without hurting overall service levels.
Consider Third-Party Fulfillment
Getting a third-party logistics (3PL) provider is a valid and popular way of reducing costs. By taking advantage of another firm’s supply chain expertise and specialization, you can get expert service and warehousing and distribution services at a fraction of the cost it would take to go solo.
Have a Continuous Improvement Process
You can’t improve what you don’t measure—cliché, but true. Make regular measurements and evaluations of your procedures and processes to find areas for improvement and enhanced efficiency. Set objectives and make sure people are accountable for implementing change. Then, once it’s all over, review and start again.
Warehouse and Distribution Toronto
Lean Supply Solutions is a 3PL fulfillment company whose operations are based around the Lean Methodology, a proven philosophy focused on eliminating any operations, equipment, or resources that are not capable of adding value to our clients’ supply chain. By striving to ensure that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, Lean Supply Solutions is able to offer consistent, predictable, and quality results. To learn more about the Lean Methodology, outsourcing to Lean Supply Solutions, or to ask any questions, give us a call at 905-482-2590.