Managing a warehouse is no simple task and Operations Managers have pressure from all sides to be as productive and cost-effective as possible, while still maintaining a smooth supply chain. In this two-part series, we’ve put together some tips for Warehouse Managers aiming to have a slick and impressive operation that runs like clockwork.
1. Data Collection Technology
Automating the data collection process using technology such as mobile computers with barcode scanners or radio frequency identification readers (RFID) vastly increases speed and accuracy and cuts down on labour costs. Using this technology to immediately identify products upon arrival at the receiving dock ensures that the product is quickly processed and many of the common errors of manual receiving are eliminated.
2. Asset Tracking
The ability to track and control inventory and order fulfilment is vital to an operation’s success. Investing in a state-of-the-art Warehouse Management System (WMS) gives full, company-wide visibility and efficiently manages all of your resources. Asset tracking software can be used to monitor the number of times a product is picked and this information is helpful to determine the value of the space that inventory takes up.
3. Synchronising Data
The common Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is central to supply chain operations and data flow needs to be synchronised across all software applications. Standardising common product data at system level removes the need for time-consuming data integration. Since one source of data is ideal, there is a move towards having data repositories that are constantly updated with the latest SKU information directly from suppliers.
4. Bin Locations
Many distribution software packages make use of bin locations which allow for immediate, accurate product location within the warehouse. Bin locations can assist you to locate any product based on the number of sales, speeding up the time it takes to pick up those popular items. Be warned though, mixing multiple SKUs together in the same bin location has a negative impact on productivity as it makes locating a particular product a slower task.
5. Accurate Forecasting
Being able to accurately predict which items will be needed and how many, positions companies to cut down on costs related to excess stock and enables them to quickly fulfill customer orders. Better forecasting involves effective data analytics and the observation of market demand patterns to keep your company ahead of the game.
Look out for the next part of this series as we continue to unpack key warehouse management tactics!