To get the most out of the operation, a number of best practices can be adopted to improve productivity and overall customer satisfaction. Although best practices vary from industry to industry and by the products shipped there are a number of best practices that can be applied to most companies. When considering the level of effort involved in warehouse operations, the greatest expenditure of effort is in the picking process.
To gain efficiencies in picking the labor time to pick orders needs to be reduced and this can be achieved in a number of ways. As you'll see, while technology can make a positive difference, there's no substitute for careful time-tracking, physical organization of space, and willingness to spend money where it's needed to improve efficiency.
Companies with the most efficient warehouses have the most frequently picked items closest to the shipping areas to minimize picking time. These companies achieve their competitive advantage by constantly reviewing their sales data to ensure that the items are stored close to the shipping area are still the most frequently picked. Warehouse layout is also important in achieving greater efficiencies. Minimizing travel time between picking locations can greatly improve productivity.
However, to achieve this increase in efficiency, companies must develop processes to monitor picking travel times and storage locations regularly. Warehouse operations that still use hard copy pick tickets find that it is not very efficient and prone to human errors. In addition to hand-held RF readers and printers, companies are introducing pick-to-light and voice recognition technology.
In a pick-to-light system, an operator will scan a bar-coded label attached to a box. A digital display located in front of the picking bin will inform the operator of the item and quantity that they need to pick.
6 warehouse replenishment best practices
By introducing this system, companies can gain significant efficiencies as it is paperless and eliminates the errors caused by pick tickets. Voice picking systems inform the operator of pick instructions through a headset. The system allows operators to perform pick operations without looking at a computer screen or deal with paper pick tickets.
Many world-class warehouse operations have adopted voice picking to complement the pick-to-light systems in place for their fast-moving products. By Full Bio Follow Twitter. Martin Murray is a former writer for The Balance Small Business, and the author of eight books on supply chain management and enterprise resource planning.
Read The Balance's editorial policies. Continue Reading.Warehouse inventory management may seem like a relatively simple process on the surface. In reality, managing warehouse inventory is a far more complex undertaking, so much so that various schools of thought have formed around the best approach to effective inventory control, resulting in a few well-established methodologies that provide a framework for inventory control in the warehouse and other settings.
Beyond these frameworks, there are many other considerations. Should you use a warehouse inventory management software application? What about warehouse inventory management mobile apps? On top of these critical decisions, there are handheld scanning devices to consider, metrics to track to maximize productivity and profitability, and much more.
Table of Contents:. Efficient warehouse inventory management relies on a clear, established set of standards and procedures that ensure consistency. The right warehouse inventory management solution depends, of course, on several factors, most importantly your business model. Additionally, some strategies for inventory management are complimentary and can be used alongside other approaches, while others stand on their own.
Check out these 10 resources for more insights on the various methodologies for warehouse inventory management and how to choose the right methodology for your business:. Along with broad inventory management methodologies, there are dozens of inventory management strategies that focus on optimizing a specific facet of operations. For example, forecasting is a widely used strategy for optimizing inventory and space utilization while maximizing profitability.
For more information about warehouse inventory management best practices and how you can put them to use today to gain better control over your inventory, check out the 14 resources below:.Simplr Warehouse - Mobile Warehouse Management System
In addition to following best practices, there are important metrics that can aid warehouses in staying on track and optimizing business operations. Want to learn more about the most important metrics you should be tracking to keep tabs on warehouse inventory? These 12 resources break down the most important metrics to measure:. Warehouse leaders increasingly turn to sophisticated software applications to manage inventory. Cloud-based systems can connect with apps discussed below and scanning devices for a seamless, real-time flow of data throughout the organization.
Warehouses have become fast-paced, bustling business atmospheres with a constant flow of inventory in and out of the facility, making the real-time availability of accurate data an important component in effective inventory management.
Choosing the right warehouse inventory management software can seem like a daunting task, but these 13 resources will guide you to the right choice:. Often, the most efficient warehouses make use of a combination of tools including barcode scanners, software applications, and mobile apps that work seamlessly together to facilitate the real-time flow of information.
Mobility is a hot topic among many industries, and warehouses are no exception. But choosing the right apps that integrate seamlessly with your software applications is the best way to avoid technical hangups that can hinder productivity. To learn more about how to use mobile apps to boost productivity and improve inventory management and compare the top warehouse inventory management apps for Android and iOS devices, check out these 10 resources:. No warehouse inventory management system is complete without barcode scanning devices.
Many warehouses make use of handheld scanning devices that enable workers to quickly and easily scan racks and shelves to reduce picking and stocking time without being limited by the length of a cord. Of course, there are tradeoffs for wireless and wired handheld scanners, so the right scanning devices depends on your specific applications and business cases. The following 10 resources offer valuable insights on how to choose the right barcode scanners for your warehouse:.
Technology has made great strides in the warehousing field, providing valuable tools and systems to streamline warehouse operations, improve efficiency and accuracy. In fact, low- and no-tech solutions are sometimes more suitable for specific business uses.
Check out the following 11 resources for guidance on choosing the right barcode labels, how label and signage solutions can improve efficiency and simplify inventory management, and other low-tech solutions for improving operations:.
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Improving warehouse operations is a complex undertaking involving the blend of physical space, equipment, placement, people, and processes. What is best for one company, one warehouse — even one product within a warehouse — is not necessarily best for another. These 10 warehouse best practices can help you discover the best configuration for your warehouse, identify problem areas, and effectively solve them through the use of lean six sigma philosophies.
You need to understand the mix of products coming in and out of your building: the number of pallets, the product mix, etc. As your profile changes your labor requirements, processes, and systems change as well.
A manager who doesn't know his profile doesn't know his business. All major repetitive activities need standardized processes so they are consistently repeatable. Most importantly, repeatable processes allow work standards to be created and labor management and planning to occur. Without standard processes, Quality and Safety cannot sustain any improvement. The problem is traditional management practices don't create the cultural shift to daily problem solving needed to sustain and advance operational improvements.
To make the shift, you, as a leader, must change what you do, but not haphazardly or impulsively. Just as operators have standardized work for their value-adding activities, you need predictable and repeatable standard activities that build people's problem solving capability moving them closer to daily continuous improvement.
Leader standard work enables coaching to occur, which allows associates to develop critical thinking skills which can then be applied to solve problems in the work area. These activities constitute a management practice known as Leader Standard Work.
Develop adequate baseline measurements for each process creating benchmarks to measure against as you improve your processes. Remember, you cannot improve what you do not measure. Many leaders rush to improve before first developing a deep understanding of the current condition or measures of the process. To effectively solve a problem, leaders must first understand the current condition. This can only be accomplished through the use of data and facts. Leaders should visit the gemba often to witness for themselves the current state of the operation.
Many times, leaders use opinion and feelings to make important decisions. Worse, they make many decisions sitting behind a desk looking at a computer screen or a long spreadsheet. The leader should always listen to people within their organization, but then go see for themselves.
Not only does this clarify the situation, but it gives the leader a chance to interact with the process and people. This type of interaction is invaluable to an organization. If people are indeed our greatest asset, shouldn't we be spending most of our time with them developing their capabilities?
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You need to have measures for productivity, cost, quality, service, morale, and safety. You want to balance your operational scorecard; so if you improve one measure it doesn't come at the expense of another. These are the vital signs of your operation and understanding them is of high importance to the leader.By eliminating paperwork and relying on mobile powered carts, companies can effectively boost dock-to-stock cycle time, eliminate improperly labeled products, and minimize inaccurate inventories.
Read More. Pushed to do more with less, and to keep workers as productive as possible in the midst of a labor crunch, managers in manufacturing need state of the art tools that help them improve processes while also minimizing errors and ensuring high levels of quality. Mobile POS technologies are transforming the brick-and-mortar retail. Transactions and processes once tethered to fixed cash registers at the front of a store are being shifted to product aisles and outdoor venues. Get it Now.
With thousands of installations worldwide, Mobile Workstations and Portable Power Systems are proven to increase productivity in a wide variety of workplaces. Supplying your products on time and with multiple channels can be quite challenging.
Whenever you plan on doing inventory management for warehouses, you should focus on ROI and running a lean operation. If you have a complex shipping system, you can opt for wave picking. If you adopt an advanced tracking method, you will find both cross docking and wave picking to save money and time. If you have a complex system, you will find all this information to be more than overwhelming at times. However, a simpler system is to analyze some specifics and find the results that you want rather than swift through endless data.
With this idea, you can save a lot of money as it will eliminate additional shift orders and inventory. Restructuring your floor plan might come with a bit of skepticism. Since product supply and demand changes continuously, you should make storage changes as well. Aside from doing inventory tracking, you also need to do employee monitoring. Take your time, focus on results and the outcome can be very well worth it in the end.
50 expert warehouse management best practices
Track the bestsellers or the high sellers. An advantage of optimizing your inventory management for warehouses is that you can track sales and orders for each product or customer. Use this information to track the high sellers. Position these in a place where you can find and follow them a lot easier. This way the entire inventory management will be more efficient, storage and shipping are performed faster, and you never have to worry about this task ever again.
Proper inventory management for warehouses can be done as long as you have the right software. That alone can be very challenging, and in the end, it might not be as economical as you expect.
Lag can be a problem with most inventory management solutionsbut the latest tools on the market allow you to acquire real-time updates on the products, which can be tagged with RFID for quick and accurate inventories.
Movable tracking enables you to see where items are located at all times, and it makes the entire process faster, easier and more intuitive. On the other hand, fixed tracking is also an option for many businesses.
You can seamlessly combine fixed tracking with movable tracking if you want to acquire optimal results. At the end of the day, fixed and movable tracking options can do wonders if you use them correctly. Newcastle Systems, Inc. Register Login. Get proof of concept in your facility with your operators and your equipment. Just pay the in-bound freight charge, and we'll take care of the rest.
Phone: Email: customerservice newcastlesys.Good safety managers and shift supervisors are always learning economical and sustainable warehouse safety best practices to keep everyone safe. Here are five ideas and safety tips for warehouse workers that ensure all your employees remain healthy and productive.
Whenever you update your safety manual, host in-house training to make sure everyone is up to speed on warehouse safety. Schedule regular safety protocol training, quarterly at a minimum, to teach and retrain new and old hires. Address important changes like new uniforms, new safety equipment, and critical updates to on-site machinery. It may sound like basic advice, but one of the most important safety rules is cleanliness.
Appoint people on the floor during every shift to keep track of regular cleanups, including getting rid of boxes and other debris that collects on the floor. Keep spill kits on hand and easily accessible if you work with chemicals or store any liquids. No matter how many articles you read about safety tips for working in a warehouse, all of them point to how important it is to prevent slips and fallswhich are among the most common causes of injuries.
So, empty those trash bins, perform daily inspections, and empower your shift managers to keep the place spotless. This video offers general best practice tips for warehouse safety and advice on how to avoid hazards. These are helpful guidelines when approaching safety topics for warehouse workers:. Hanging signs in strategic areas should be on the top of your to-do list.
Mark all areas where employees may encounter:.
Loading docks can get busy and hectic, and workers may not easily hear each other over the constant noise of forklifts, trucks, and other electrical equipment. Give them easy-to-read visual cues so everyone is on the same page with safety awareness. Inspect signage monthly and put that task on your warehouse safety inspection checklist to ensure that all warehouse safety signs are always legible and hanging properly.
Setting a moment aside to discuss an accident-free workplace gets everyone just as excited about safety and their health as other elements of their productivity. If accidents do occur, then create an open forum for discussing them and the key prevention steps to avoid accidents in the future.
Treat safety equipment with the same urgency that you do when monitoring product inventory. Are any sprinklers in the warehouse blocked by piles of boxes? Do all the fire extinguishers work? Does everyone have access to safe and precise utility knives to prevent avoidable injuries? When was the last time you double-checked that everyone was wearing well-fitting and safe lifting belts?
Even after receiving shipments from your safety equipment suppliers, check all products before putting the equipment to use. Performing regular safety equipment inspections is a low-cost way to provide key oversight for your workers. Safety in the warehouse is a number one priority. Establishing and enforcing consistent guidelines reduces injuries and improves morale. Incorporate important warehouse safety best practices in your regular meetings as guidelines to make the information accessible to all your employees.
Products Case studies About Blog. Contact Us. Keep the Warehouse Floor Clean It may sound like basic advice, but one of the most important safety rules is cleanliness. Use Signage to Communicate Warehouse Safety Rules Hanging signs in strategic areas should be on the top of your to-do list.
Mark all areas where employees may encounter: Flammable materials Dangerous chemicals Fall risks Hard hat-only zones Loading docks can get busy and hectic, and workers may not easily hear each other over the constant noise of forklifts, trucks, and other electrical equipment. Check and Double-Check All Safety Equipment Treat safety equipment with the same urgency that you do when monitoring product inventory. Subscribe to Our Blog. Recent posts.Federal government websites often end in.
The site is secure. The U. Government Accountability Office GAO has identified real property management as a high-risk area due to long-standing problems. A November GAO report found that the federal real property database FRPP contains inconsistent warehouse data and agencies reported a wide range of challenges in acquiring, managing, and disposing of warehouse space.
Furthermore, GAO found that GSA has a role in setting a strategic framework to help agencies make more efficient use of warehouse space. The case studies presented on this site should serve as a catalyst for federal agencies to share best practices and innovative and successful initiatives that improve the management of their warehouse assets. The following innovative examples of warehouse space best practices illustrate cost-effective ways to acquire, manage and dispose of federal warehouses space.
GSA will continually update this page with information to promote the effective use of federal warehouses and provide practical strategies for disposing of warehouse space that is unneeded and underutilized. If your organization has a proven strategy for reducing warehouse space costs and enhancing warehouse asset management, please let us know. We would be delighted to share your innovation with the federal real property community. Instead of warehousing products and buying, shipping and storing office supplies and other common-use retail items, GSA will rely on its commercial partners to ship directly to customers.
This new business model will simplify the federal acquisition process and save nearly half a billion dollars over the next five years. The Government Accountability Office GAO provides a framework and guide that federal managers can use to improve the accuracy and reliability of the government's inventory and related property data. GAO studied the inventory count processes and procedures of seven leading-edge private sector companies to identify the key factors and practices they use to achieve accurate and reliable physical counts.
The report describes the fundamental practices and procedures used in the private sector to achieve consistent and accurate physical counts. The report also describes leading practices from which the Federal Government may be able to draw lessons and ideas. Although originally developed inthe warehousing best practices in this report are still very relevant today. RPUD effectively promotes the full utilization of federal property and develops innovative solutions to reposition real property assets, including warehouses.
This link provides tools and resources to assist federal agencies to report warehouse space excess for disposal and obtain information on available excess properties that could be utilized by another federal agency.It is important that all of the documentation and physical deliverables of the project be defined at the outset of the project.
Naming standards, documentation standards, coding standards, weekly status reports, release deliverables, etc. Examples of these documents should be a part of the addendum of the presentation, so the customer knows that you are prepared for this project, and they know what to expect at each milestone along the way.
The way to address this challenge is to establish a Data Governance Council as a part of the warehousing project. A data governance council can be critical to the success of a data warehousing project.
The council is responsible for ensuring data integrity, and quality before the data is ingested into the data warehouse. The members of the council are usually the disparate siloed data experts, data owners and data specialists from the different parts of the organization. This eclectic group of individuals will feel empowered to keep their data clean and accurate because they know the others in the council are doing the same, and they see the positive business results from sharing their data.
They will develop policies for data security, sharing and retention. This is something we forget after leaving kindergarten. These people, like you, are doing their job to the best of their ability. This is upsetting to most people. It makes them feel disengaged and disrespected and disengaged and disrespected employees have been the ruin of many data warehouse projects.
These individuals often appear to be helpful but often leave out critical details needed for the success of the project. To address this challenge, you must work to communicate the value that each member of the team brings to the project. Listen to their opinions, and where possible, include their ideas and, most importantly, give them credit. The establishment of teamwork amongst the team members is important to the success of most projects, but this building of friendships critical to the success of a project as large and long as a data warehousing project.
The overarching reason for a data warehouse is to provide high quality, trusted information to the users quickly and efficiently. To do this correctly you must focus on the user requirements, not only to deliver what the users specifically requested but to provide them with enhanced capabilities to address the issues that they may not have fully articulated.
When you listen to your constituents the results can be astounding; these users will become your best asset. After all of the requirements were captured the data warehouse team would then go off for another 6 to 24 months and build the warehouse based on those requirements.
Meanwhile, the needs of the business changed, and the requirements gathered so many months before are no longer valid when the warehouse is delivered. Therefore, we must be able to enhance the design of the data warehouse rapidly to address the changing business needs. This allows the users to receive partial functionality and react to the delivered product. At this point, the users can continue with the schedule as defined or make modifications to the schedule based on this most recently delivered product.
This methodology eliminates the long stretches of time between requirements gathering and product delivery and thereby provides the users with the agility to change tact when the business needs change. It is currently estimated that over 2. Therefore, storage optimization and data insert, update and select performance must be considered when designing a data warehouse and data marts.
Following the above rules will ensure your data warehouse project overcomes the initial inertia of a large project, meets your customer needs in a timeframe for them to react to the changing needs of the business while simultaniously delivering high performing BI reports and analytics.
You have written this post very well. Thank you for this share. It will definitely meet the customer satisfaction and their needs. As you will see, most of these are not technical solutions but focus more on the soft skills needed to ensure the success of these long in duration and expensive solutions. Make Friends This is something we forget after leaving kindergarten. Focus on the Users Needs The overarching reason for a data warehouse is to provide high quality, trusted information to the users quickly and efficiently.