Warehouse Processes: How to Run a World-Class Warehouse Operation
Optimising your warehouse processes helps you reduce your expenses, increase your revenue and working capital, and provide your customers with a seamless purchasing experience. Here’s how you can achieve a world class warehouse.
A lean and efficient business starts in your warehouse. In today’s highly competitive, global market, you’re not only competing with local suppliers, but with huge global organisations - making it even more important to ensure your warehouse is optimised to deliver services as fast and effectively as possible.
If you’re looking to improve your warehouse processes to streamline your operations, you’ll be pleased to know it’s easier than it seems. Here are some tips from our supply chain experts to help you implement processes that support your business goals, and help you achieve a world class warehouse.
How to optimise your warehouse processes
As you know, customer service is often the key to distinguishing your brand from the competition.
The success of organisations like the Country Road Group and the Foschini Group is driven by strong processes, and a warehouse management system (WMS) that aligns with the company’s business goals.
The key to giving your customers exactly what they need, when they need it, lies in the strength of your warehouse processes. Poor processes will result in a poor customer experience.
Planning is crucial to your success
In order to optimise your warehouse processes, you first need to spend time researching and planning your strategy. If you have an existing WMS in place you can analyse existing data for insights that help guide your planning and decision making.
The planning phase will include various steps including:
Online research (as you’re doing now)
There’s a plethora of information available online - in the form of industry blog posts, ebooks, white papers, case studies, and so on. Reading as much as you can on industry best practices will help you when benchmarking your warehouse.
Benchmarking your warehouse compares your warehouse’s performance to businesses like yours - this will uncover any weaknesses or opportunities for you to improve on.
Ask yourself the following questions when benchmarking your warehouse:
Who are the leaders in my industry locally?
Who are the leaders in my industry globally?
What are they doing differently to stand out?
How can I apply this knowledge to my warehouse to improve my operations?
Offline research and networking
Offline research and networking is a second, important (and often overlooked), step during the planning phase.
Networking and offline research can include different touch points like joining industry user/focus groups, attending trade shows and visiting your peers’ warehouses. It may come as a surprise, but the best way to improve your warehouse processes, is to physically visit your peers and see how their processes look in action.
The more you visit other warehouses, and share knowledge about different operational approaches, the more holistically you’ll be able to look at your own processes. You’ll be able to take the most efficient aspects of your peers’ processes, and tailor them to your own needs within your warehouse.
Only once you’ve done your research, benchmarked your warehouse and implemented the right WMS for your business, will you be able to fully optimise your warehouse processes. Building processes that work for you takes time, but the benefits will outweigh the time and resources spent during the planning phase.
The benefits of optimising your warehouse processes
With the right warehouse management system in place, coupled with robust processes to support your business goals, you’ll see the results you’ve always wanted.
A business is only as strong as its processes. Achieving world class best practices in your warehouse benefits your business in the following ways:
- Improve your day-to-day efficiencies and productivity.
The right WMS and supporting processes streamlines your operations, saving you time and precious space in your warehouse. This includes things like labour allocation, picking strategies and the physical layout of your warehouse itself. Processes also help to boost staff morale (creating a positive productivity cycle). Strong processes clear up any uncertainties and ensure that day-to-day activities run smoothly.
Reduce your operational expenses.
With the right WMS and supporting processes in place, you’ll be able to run a lean, efficient warehouse - leaving you more working capital to invest into other crucial areas of your business.
Improved safety and security.
With robust processes in place, you’ll have a better overview your inventory - helping you keep track of stock, and ultimately saving you the additional cost of stock replacements.
Provide excellent customer service and experiences.
Optimising your warehouse processes ensures that you deliver on time, every time - giving your customers exactly what they want, when they want it. And, as you know, happy customer are the lifeblood of your business.
By improving your customer service levels, you’ll benefit from repeat business and referrals, boosting your bottom line and getting you closer to your business goals.
What are you waiting for? Take the next step towards business excellence and get your free benchmarking assessment. Our supply chain experts will assess your needs and make recommendations to help you achieve industry best practices.