Warehousing and distribution services have never been more complicated than they are today. The digitization of the warehouse, the rise in customer expectations regarding delivery and customer service, and the competition of markets put a strain on overall operations. Here are the top 10 warehousing mistakes that many organizations make, and how you can avoid them to run a better business.
1. Lack of Inventory Accuracy
The most important responsibility in your warehouse management is inventory accuracy. Without using a warehouse management system or inventory management system, you will face serious challenges in your supply chain. Managing your inventory levels and ensuring accuracy between all your locations will not be possible without proper planning and software.
2. Failure to Optimize Picking Paths
Another common mistake organizations make is poor optimization of order picking paths in the warehouse. The most variable aspect in your warehouse is the cost of labour, and it can impact your profitability. You need to be sure that your warehouse workers are operating as efficiently as possible. To make the best use of their time and energy, you should carefully study the location of your items in relation to their pick speed. You should place products that are often picked together in close vicinity to each other as much as possible. Achieving this type of analysis can be very complicated, but with the right software packages you can resolve this challenge.
3. Holding Excess Inventory
A good practice when managing your warehouse is to reduce your inventory on a regular basis. When you hold excess inventory, you increase the chances that you have money stuck in stock. Items that sit at the back of your warehouse can become obsolete and forgotten, preventing you from making profits off those items. Reduce the levels of inventory as much as you can to gain a leaner supply chain. You can do this by receiving large orders in smaller batches.
4. Lack of Safety Policies
If your employees are constantly getting injured, they will need to spend more time off work or will work slowly to prevent their injuries from getting worse. If you try to cut corners or look the other way when there are workplace safety issues, you are making a grave mistake. Worker compensation claims can cost you a lot of money. Instead of waiting to apologize after an event like this, get proactive by optimizing your safety practices. Do your best to ensure that your workers are in a safe environment when they walk into work, and take the time to keep them up to speed on current safety procedures.
5. Poor Housekeeping
Messy warehouses aren’t just hazardous, but they also obstract the flow of goods and people, reducing productivity. Establish a housekeeping routine by regularly tidying up and cleaning after every shift. This will allow the next shift to be more productive as they begin working in an organized and clean environment.
6. Neglecting Goods-in-Process
It can seem overwhelming to dispatch customer orders on time, but this pressure should not cause you to neglect the goods-in-process aspect of your supply chain. To avoid neglecting this process, assign dedicated staff to ensure that it is effectively maintained. Make sure that you have enough people responsible for receiving the goods.
7. Failing to Measure the Right Things
It’s easy to get caught up in the obvious responsibilities of managing your warehouse, which is why many organizations forget to measure less obvious operations properly by overlooking important key performance indicators. One of these operations that are often forgotten is the goods receiving process. Good warehouse management means that you need to pay close attention to your entire environment, all the people involved, and every process.
8. Sticking to the Paper Process
There is no reason that you should still be using paper to document your workflow. There are so many options available in the digital realm that can optimize your documentation. Embrace the technology that is available to you by installing effective software to manage your data and inventory. It will also help you gain better visibility, so you know exactly where your products are at all times, how much you have in stock, and when you need to restock or filter out an obsolete item.
9. Lack of Proper Staff Development and Training
Another big challenge in warehousing is employee turnover. When a worker leaves an organization, there is a significant cost that comes along with it. Employees leave for various reasons, but one common reason is because they don’t believe they are receiving the right amount of training and development opportunities to exceed expectations and grow. Employees that do not receive training and development opportunities also affect you. Without proper training, they’re more prone to mistakes, thereby reducing quality and increasing inefficiency in your supply chain. You should ensure that there are detailed training plans for each position, and that every employee has a career development plan that is specific to their goals.
10. Failing to be Ready for the Future
You will set yourself up for failure if you don’t plan for the future. If your company isn’t constantly growing and evolving, it will eventually fall on its face. Although growth rates are different depending on the industry and company you manage, you should still consider your future growth plans. Ask yourself questions such as, how can we expand our current processes, what new technologies are available to help me be more efficient, and does our current infrastructure support growth?
How Lean Supply Solutions Can Help You
Lean Supply Solutions provides quality warehousing and distribution in Canada, California, and other parts of the USA. We are aware of the rising trends, technologies, and challenges organizations like yours faces each year and we can help you track and understand your metrics better. We commit to staying up to date on our clients’ operational challenges and strive to help them get the most out of their processes. We offer consistent, accurate, and quality results by ensuring that the right products are provided to the right customers at the right time, while saving you money. Our services include warehouse pick-and-pack, contract logistics, manufacturing support, technology, warehousing distribution services, e-commerce fulfillment, consulting, and more. To learn more about our warehouse value-added services, or to ask any questions, contact us today!