Every Warehouse Manager is acutely aware of the constant need to find ways to improve efficiency in this competitive market. In part one of this series we looked at warehousing strategies with a particular focus on data collection technology and asset tracking (Click here to read the first article). Today we are zoning on tried-and-tested methods to enhance logistics practices.
Implement Advanced Shipping Notifications
Advanced shipping notifications (ASN) are a powerful tool that drives delivery efficiency but it is often very under-utilised by warehouses. Electronically transmitted ASN’s give a indepth information about the upcoming order so that preparations can be made. There are many advantages of this effortless system and, when integrated with a warehouse management system (WMS) it can simplify the entire delivery process. Knowing what orders are coming in enables accurate labour planning and order fulfillment and transportation needs can be organised to ensure deadlines are met.
Streamline Reverse Logistics
Dealing with returns is often viewed as a major headache since it is a highly complex process with each item needing to be individually sorted, identified and processed. Generic ERP packages often lack this kind of capability so a specialised returns system is needed, either built into a Warehouse Management System (WMS) or as a stand-alone application. RF scanning equipment can be indispensable for the returns process and can automate the allocation of inventory.
Control Inbound Freight
Transportation is considered to be the biggest outlay in many logistics businesses and keeping costs competitive should be a priority. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking inbound freight fees which are often combined with the purchase price on supplier’s invoices. Be sure get a proper breakdown of the freight costs and research whether the amount charged is reasonable and market related. Consider getting an experienced consultant on board to help identify cost-saving areas and negotiate reductions with suppliers.
Identify Areas for a Lean Warehouse Operation
Far too often warehouse productivity is stunted by a large amount of waste – whether it be time, money, materials, space or labour. Carefully examine areas where unnecessary waste can be minimised for a leaner operation:
- Too much valuable time spent on locating and reaching for inventory due to an inefficient layout or the lack of ergonomic workstations.
- Delays due to poor planning or inefficient systems.
- Overproduction or overstocking of products as a result of unreliable data and a lack of accurate forecasting.
- Errors, defects and discrepancies that could be largely eliminated with the right systems in place.
Proactively managing your warehouse and you will reap the reward of an efficient operation.
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