Four Top Ways To Improve Your Warehouse Efficiency

If you own or manage a warehouse, you know that efficiency equals profit. Read on to learn four ways you can make your warehouse more efficient and beef up your bottom line.

Use Warehouse Management Software

One of the best ways to increase warehouse efficiency is to use warehouse management software. Current programs go far beyond simple in-house spreadsheets for keeping inventory, which must be periodically updated and therefore only give static data. New software keeps a real-time running inventory of your goods and updates every time an item is shelved or removed.

New software programs can monitor your suppliers and let you know if they are experiencing delays or non-conformance issues with regulated products. They also let you map your warehouse, so you know where every item is at any given time. You can create graphics that illustrate your adherence to time and budget metrics, and these data are cloud stored, so you have no additional drain on your IT.

Install Top Quality Pallet Racking

Your warehouse should be using the best pallet racking your budget can support. What is the best pallet racking? It's the system that suits your individual business's needs, such as:

  • drive-in racks that slide back and forth on a rail, allowing several to be pushed together
  • heavy-duty racks for high use or extra heavy items
  • flow racks that sit at an angle with rollers that move the next item forward when the one in front of it is picked (ideal for first-in-first-out picking)
  • extra-deep or extra-long racks for irregularly shaped items
  • push-back pallets that allow many pallet rows to be compressed together, maximizing warehouse space for items that can sit for some time

For more information about upgrading your pallet racking system, contact a company like Patton Equipment Company, Inc.

Automate Material Storage And Retrieval

If you are using pallet racking (versus regular shelving), you should already be using some basic automation to store and retrieve items, such as a forklift. By upgrading your automation, you can increase your picking time, accuracy, and space utilization.

A narrow reach lift that works in a more vertical plane than a traditional forklift will permit you to set pallet racks closer together when drive-in or push back racks aren't feasible. By cutting out horizontal motion, your item picking and loading becomes faster. Additionally, a man-up lift allows the vehicle operator to move up and down with the lift. This gives the operator a chance to eyeball what is being picked and can help reduce errors, as well as provide early detection of any pallet rack problems.

Specify Employees For Each Warehouse Sector

Think of your warehouse staff like a sports team; is it more efficient to let everyone play every position on the field, or is it better to assign designated areas to be played consistently? If you follow the sports analogy and keep the same staff in the same sectors, rather than having them cover the entire warehouse, you'll have employees who become experts in their areas and won't make errors due to unfamiliarity.

Running a warehouse can be challenging. However, with these tips, you can increase your productivity and improve your profits, making your job a little easier too.