Optimizing Common Warehouse Processes

Running a successful warehouse requires careful planning, precise execution and being able to identify ways in which the process can be improved. Innovations and improvements in the warehousing industry happen quickly. Being able to adjust and implement new warehousing techniques, software solutions and other processes is key to ensuring your organization is optimized and operating at peak performance.

Common Warehouse Processes

When you can optimize a warehouse process from top to bottom, you not only create a more organized and efficient business, you also introduce ways to save money. These common warehouse processes should be under constant scrutiny as you search for simplification and accuracy across your organization:

Receiving

The receiving process is where everything starts in a warehouse. Therefore, always look for ways to optimize the performance of the receiving department. Examples include finding ways to make unloading cargo and clearing the loading dock faster and more efficient, using dimensioners to capture the weight and dimensions of pallets automatically or using software solutions that help anticipate personnel needs to handle upcoming shipments.

Cargo Put-Away

When cargo is put away properly, it improves performance throughout a warehouse. It also optimizes warehouse space, reduces travel and picking times, and lowers the risk of lost or damaged inventory.

Storage

Optimizing the warehouse storage process allows workers to be more productive and efficient. It also maximizes the available space in a warehouse. To accomplish these goals, use the right storage system for your warehouse size. A slotting optimizing system can be beneficial, as well as software that calculates storage use.

Picking

Streamline the picking process, so workers can find and pick products for shipping quickly and accurately. This begins by laying out the warehouse properly, labeling everything clearly and using the right picking method. Updated technology, such as wireless mobile devices and wearables, can also increase picking speed and reduce errors.

Packing

Improve the packing process using software that determines the type and amount of packaging material needed to keep an item safe. This makes the job easier for employees and helps keep packing costs low

Shipping

Shipping is the last phase in the warehouse process. While it might seem straightforward, there are things you can do to improve performance in this area. For instance, use software systems to streamline tasks, such as labor management systems, mobile applications and devices for shipping, and loading systems. These solutions can help ensure cargo is loaded safely and efficiently.

How to Optimize Your Warehouse Processes

In addition to the solutions mentioned above, use these 10 tips to optimize your warehouse process:

  1. Adopt lean warehousing practices.
  2. Process shipments when they arrive, not later.
  3. Schedule receiving appointments to prevent loading dock traffic jams.
  4. Provide ongoing training for workers.
  5. Review your warehouse layout and revise if necessary.
  6. Organize your inventory.
  7. Run an audit on your warehouse.
  8. Prioritize your inventory based on the ABC hierarchy.
  9. Evaluate the effectiveness of your supply chain.
  10. Communicate effectively with your workers.
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Honing Warehouse Techniques

It takes time for workers to adapt to changes in familiar processes, so don’t judge the outcome of any changes until everyone is trained and comfortable with the adjustments and things start moving smoothly. Mastering the new processes will deliver transformative results.

Make training and support a priority, and you’ll enjoy the benefits of greater efficiency and productivity sooner than later.

Learn more about how partnering with Prologis can help improve your warehouse operations.