Excellent warehouse management is one of the cornerstones of an impeccable supply chain operation. Managing a warehouse successfully can seem easy, and it may be simpler than you think once you have it under control, however sometimes is not as obvious as you may believe, to identify what is and what isn’t working out. Managers sometimes have difficulty pinpointing the mistakes they may be making with their warehousing methods and how areas that do not seem directly related, can impact each other greatly. Providing excellent customer service, reducing waste, lowering productions costs and raising revenue are the goals of a successful operation and in order to achieve those goals, you must avoid the mistakes that will cripple the proper functions of your supply chain. Here at David Kiger’s Blog we have mentioned before some of the ways you can improve upon your current supply chain management methods, but today we want to be more specific and talk about some of the most common warehousing shortcomings companies make when running their daily operation.
Technology nowadays has made it so that every single aspect of business operations can be positively affected by updating processes. One of the biggest mistakes managers make, is thinking that their operation is too small or that new technological advances do not apply and cannot make their processes faster and more efficient. Clinging to paper processes for example, is one of the ways that outdated methods greatly hurt warehouse operations. Digital information storage and transmission is a great asset to consider including in your warehouse management operation, that will quickly turn into a worthy investment.
Something as basic as general cleanliness can have a hefty cost in daily operations. When you have overfilled pallets, messy loading docks and floors ridden with paper, cardboard and shrink-wrap; you are not only creating a possible safety hazard but also obstructing the flow of goods and personnel through the warehouse. The problem with a warehouse with poor housekeeping is not just the physical clutter, but also the psychological untidiness that projects upon employees and people who constantly see it. It has been proven than a messy work environment is detrimental to mental health and general efficiency.
This is probably one of the most common mistakes people make when managing warehouse operations. Gaining unexpected overstock usually happens when retailers buy large quantities of products trying to take advantage of bulk discounts but then, they end up with extra units that will be stored for unknown periods of time. The problem with overstock is that it doesn’t encourage lean practices in the supply chain and it ties up large quantities of money in overstock, something that is not recommended at all. The less overstock a warehouse has, the better they are running their operation.
Not Investing in Training
Training and development activities should not be seen as luxuries that are avoided in order to lower operations costs. Sometimes people believe that their budget does not allow for regular employee training, but they are making a big mistake by not investing into this necessary and rewarding aspect. Employee training motivates and engages the workforce, thus avoiding employee turnover and low morale amongst your team. It costs a lot less to train your people than having to replace them constantly and to fill vacant positions due to all the team members you are constantly losing. A trained workforce is far more efficient, something that in the long run will save a lot of money and time.
Poor Goods-in Receiving
The inbound side of the operation often suffers because managers are more concerned with customer orders and the dispatch of external operations. The problem here is that the role of goods-in receiving is absolutely critical to successful warehouse operations and while you may think you are saving time by focusing on what you think is essential, you are possibly slowing down your process even more by not paying attention to your internal operations. You should assign the right staff and try to have them specialize on inbound receiving operations instead of simply choosing random members to fill those roles.
Not Optimizing Picking Procedures
An efficient picking plan is probably one of the best ways to ensure warehouse operations are being performed while utilizing your personnel and resources in the most effective way possible. Picking plans are a very complex and interesting aspect in which much time and effort should be placed in order to create a strategy that benefits your operation the best way possible. In other articles we will talk more in-depth about efficient picking procedures and possible techniques to utilize to ensure maximum impact.
Forgetting About Health and Safety Management
Just because your warehouse is clean it doesn’t necessarily mean that is safe. Sometimes people believe that because they are not having accidents, they are doing things correctly and then become complacent and start to cut corners. Training and strict safety procedures should always be followed and observed in order to maintain accidents virtually non-existent. Poor safety management can cost a lot more than time and money, it could easily cost a life.