5 Expert Tips To Successfully Run A Warehouse
On the surface, it appears obvious that the success to achieving a smart business is process efficiency. Naturally, the less time and effort spent on tasks, the healthier your profit margin. With technology progressing rapidly there’s very little excuse today for anything other than a well-optimised warehouse, but it can be challenging to know where to start and which changes are worth your time.
We have focused on five top recommendations to guide your move towards a well-optimised warehouse, ensuring you create a smooth and slick operation for everybody working under your warehouse roof.
- GOAL SETTING: Your North Star
It’s absolutely essential that your warehouse goals align closely with your business objectives. When determining your goals for the year ahead, we advise using the SMART methodology to ensure that your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely.
Here at Supply Chain Junction, we consider the pillars of operational performance when setting your warehouse goals or KPIs. To achieve your customer facing KPIs and secure a seamless service experience, the focus needs to be on perfect order fulfilment, cycle timing, growth potential and on-time shipments. Next, achieving internal efficiency includes the costs of your actual warehouse, labour productivity and efficiency of order. Finally, successful asset utilisation and supplier KPIs include warehouse throughput, overflow storage, technology requirements, product spoilage and expiration and of course, your cash flow.
To efficiently track your goals and KPIs you require the necessary data for tracking, production and trend purposes. This is where a world-class Warehouse Management System (WMS) can assist and guide you.
- STAFF & LABOUR MANAGEMENT
Effectively managing your warehouse workforce is challenging at the best of times. Typically consuming a minimum of 50% of your overall operation costs, labour can be both expensive and tricky. You thus require a solution which focuses on achieving optimum productivity to ensure meeting customer demand whilst reducing costs. Our WMS solution tracks various areas essential for success, which include improving productivity and career satisfaction, decreasing turnover and rewarding efficiency, safety and quality.
By detailing specific standards for each operational activity you’ll be able to determine pay incentives based on performance. A WMS, such as Manhattan, allows for the actual monitoring of task completion in real time, allowing for adjustments and the recording of historical output which enables fair and equitable performance assessment.
You’ll also need to keep additional requirement top of mind such as temporary staffing requirements, potential overtime and even special project staff needs.
Wherever possible, always involve your entire workforce in idea generation and feedback, ensuring you have open communication channels wherever appropriate. Never forget that a successful business relies on the hardwork and efforts of all and sharing this will go a long way to making a positive difference to the energy and commitment to your workforce.
At Supply Chain Junction (SCJ) we constantly research new ideas and trends to ensure you and your team are able to create new strategies for success. To remain ahead of the competition, use our checklist to benchmark and plan your labour allocation, meet customer demand and increase productivity in your warehouse.
- CONSUMER EXPECTATIONS ARE KING
Industry leading experts state that the key to successful future warehouse optimisation relies on placing the customer at the heart of all of your business decisions. In our hyper-connected, omni-channel and fast evolving world there are an immense wealth of options available to customers and it’s vital that not only does your business have the processes in place but the technology to remain competitive.
Customers want ‘fast and free’ and as every year goes by, free gets faster. With manufacturers providing direct fulfilment and e-commerce platforms offering free delivery, your service offering needs to focus on all-round excellence to retain your existing loyal customer base and build a strong reputation that attracts new business.
So what can you do to manage your customer expectations? Adapt and adopt new technologies as quickly as you can. AI is now an everyday reality enabling accurate demand forecasting which will assist with the prediction of fluctuating sales trends. The collection and analysis of data on an ongoing basis with an effective system, will allow you to make strong business decisions. Whilst cost is naturally a consideration, the cost of not having an up to date system is far riskier. An excellent and effective WMS will reduce your overall customer service resources by minimising out of stocks, decreasing customer queries and complaints, thereby improving overall customer satisfaction. And that’s what we’re after!
- TECHNOLOGY & INVESTMENT
The only way to compete in today’s market and ensure that your warehouse is following global best practice is to invest in a world-class warehouse management system (WMS).
With the right WMS your supply chain productivity and efficiency can be greatly improved. Providing you with all of the tools you need to achieve world-class warehouse practices, a WMS goes far beyond the tracking of inventory levels and their locations. Not only does it accommodate all of your business processes and allow for technological advances, it provides total transparency across all of your operational requirements through access to quality data.
Data informs so much of what you need to know with regards your warehouse operations. Further, it allows you to be proactive and implement continuous change versus being reactive. Algorithms pinpoint where there is a waste of time, suggesting recommendations with regards labour allocation and improving safety and security, all of which results in overall streamlined processes. This will assist you in achieving maximum operational efficiency, reduce operational expenses and deliver better customer service, everything you dreamt of when you founded your business.
A WMS is an excellent way to provide effective solutions to balance your business challenges. With the ability to automate and optimise all of your supply chain processes, a WMS can lead to 99% inventory accuracy. Now that’s something worth serious consideration.
- WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT TRENDS
With automation, robotics, AI and other advanced technologies making their way into the world’s distribution facilities, the warehouse management system (WMS) is the proven cornerstone for successful warehouse operations.
2019 will see continued advances in machine learning, enabled sensing and adaptation. From totally automated systems which can interject last-minute orders, the focus is on making systems more engaging and easier to use, packaging the presentation of data in a more logical manner which allow for quick and clever decision making.
Today’s customer has zero tolerance for late, missing or incorrect orders. A WMS will allow for better, faster return-to-inventory management and makes implementation easier with expanded functionalities.
By implementing a WMS that utilises the latest warehousing technology, you place your business at the forefront of progress. Offering you significant benefits across your entire supply chain, a WMS will ensure you reach your business objectives.
Download our Practical Guide to Warehouse Optimisation and get in touch with us. In an increasingly competitive industry, can you afford not to?