Are you looking for ways on how to run an efficient warehouse and improve your warehouse operations? As the warehouse manager of a distribution center, it’s up to you to ensure that your Warehouse Management System (WMS) is up to par. That means you should make sure that it can ensure inventory accuracy and order accuracy, maximize warehouse space, increase productivity, and maintain customer satisfaction. In other words, to run an efficient warehouse, your productivity and efficiency standards have to be better than your competition.
And in today’s climate, that’s not possible without a superior WMS. Here are nine tips that will help you operate efficiently.
1. Organize Your Space
When sitting empty, your warehouse probably looks large, with enough room for all the products, workers, and machinery you need to operate. But once it’s full, things can get tight quickly. That’s why it’s important to organize your space so that you will save time with an efficient warehouse.
For instance, if you want to reduce picking errors in real-time, your inventory should be arranged in a logical order. The bins should be properly marked and situated in an area best for picking. The right warehouse management system can set about improving warehouse space by analyzing the floor, including vertical space, and creating a layout that works for your business.
2. Reduce Picking Errors
Picking errors cost you money whether you use pick and pack or another method of fulfilling orders. With software like eoPick, your pickers will be able to use voice direction that runs on their phone and directs them to pick in the most efficient manner. And once a product is picked, the picker can scan the barcode, tap the screen, or speak pre-arranged control words into the microphone.
As a warehouse manager, you can view real-time updates about an order, review picking times for your employees, and use the data to plan for the future.
3. Supply Chain Management
The supply chain is a mess, isn’t it? As the manager of a warehouse distributor, keeping up with the supply chain is a role that you can’t ignore. But it can be difficult to manually keep track of all your orders, and the status of your suppliers – and then keep your customers apprised of that.
Enter warehouse automation. It is the ideal solution to supply chain management problems because it relies on data and algorithms to ensure that your product flow stays stable. And when something happens, the system can not only alert you to the issue but also your customers. And that makes everyone happy.
4. Make Deliveries On-Time
As the manager of your warehouse, you likely have to speak to customers when a delivery truck runs late or something else happens that doesn’t allow the product to get to them on time. But if you had a warehouse management system, many of those issues could be avoided.
A WMS coordinates deliveries in a way that makes sense. It helps you pack trucks efficiently and create runs in the most organized way so that your customers remain happy. It’s one of the management solutions successful warehouse managers cannot live without.
5. Keep Your Warehouse Safe
Improving safety for your floor workers and other staff is an important job for any warehouse manager. From those who conduct material handling to those who keep the books, safety is a number one concern in a warehouse.
For starters, you should have safety protocols in place and ensure that your employees understand and follow them. And for those who operate machinery, it’s important that they are trained and are proficient in the piece of equipment before they are allowed to operate it by themselves. When your employees feel safe, it frees them up to do a better job for you.
6. Manage Your Inventory
There is nothing worse than taking a large order only to discover that you don’t have the product in stock to fill it. And in today’s unsettled supply chain issues, that could be a problem you are unable to resolve. That’s another reason why a warehouse management system is a good idea.
The WMS automatically keeps track of all the inventory in your warehouse and alerts you when a product is running low. It uses algorithms to determine at what rate you need to reorder and how often. Imagine, never having to worry about taking an order because you know you have an inventory magician quietly working in the background for all your inventory management needs.
7. Be Open to Change
One of the key characteristics of a successful warehouse manager is the ability to know when something isn’t working and then having the guts to change it. That can be difficult in an environment when everyone is used to doing things a certain way, but if something isn’t working, even if it’s been that way for years, it’s up to you to do something about it.
For instance, is your warehouse still doing inventory by hand? Are your pickers still using their internal maps to find and pick products? Is your supply chain management based on what you hear on the news? If any of these sounds like you, it may be up to you to make some changes.
Change can be good, and when it’s led by the warehouse manager for the good of the entire organization, it’s almost impossible to fail.
8. Create a Culture of Success
When your employees are happy, your warehouse production and efficiency will improve. That’s because happy employees do more and do it with a better attitude. As a warehouse manager, what can you do to foster that feeling in your space?
Start by creating an environment that’s fun – and maybe a little competitive. For instance, do your pickers get rewarded when they surpass their quota or goals? If not, introducing a free lunch for the best picker of the day or a paid day off for the winner of the month will go a long way in boosting efficiency.
There is a reason why corporations have long used employee of the month clubs and employee appreciation days: They work. What can you do to boost the morale (and productivity) of your workers?
9. Use Intelligent Forecasting
In the past, warehouse managers had to rely on past invoices and their gut feeling to forecast and order inventory for an upcoming season or event. But today’s customers expect more. Much more. Today’s successful warehouse managers use technology to do the forecasting for them. And that means no more shortages, out-of-stock notices, or begging for forgiveness when your best customer can’t get the product he or she needs.
The right warehouse management system can be a game-changer when it comes to forecasting, which will make you the hero in your worker’s and customers’ eyes. Have an upcoming event you need to order for? Don’t worry, your behind-the-scenes software will tabulate the amount of product you need to order so that things run smoothly.
Are You Ready to Up Your Game?
As a warehouse manager, the buck stops with you when it comes to creating an efficient and productive warehouse. Your employees rely on you to equip them with the latest tools and technology to keep things flowing. Your customers rely on you to keep an accurate inventory count and when they place an order, to get it to them on time. And the remaining warehouse team relies on you to operate within budget and plan for a more profitable future. All of this and more is possible when you use the right warehouse management system. If you need to up your game and don’t have the right equipment, contact eoStar today. We’ll speak with you about your current configuration and make suggestions about you can improve it. After all, we’re only successful if you are!
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