Warehouse management plays an important role in the game plan of ecommerce companies to stay on the top of their game and get an edge over their competition. Due to the cut throat competition in the realm of ecommerce, ecommerce companies cannot afford to waste their time and money on inefficient processes or solutions. In addition, if any system malfunctions in their warehousing department, it may happen that products may reach late to the customers, resulting in a loss of business in the form of return customers and a loss of hard earned reputation.
Lean manufacturing is emerging as of the time tested solutions in order to maintain an efficient warehouse. Lean manufacturing has helped manufacturing businesses all around the globe increase efficiency, reduce overhead costs, enhance productivity and increase profitability. Businesses wanting to stiffen their warehouse management efforts would reap the benefits of implementing lean strategies within their warehouse environment. While not ensured to take you to the top, these strategies can allow you to boost your productivity drastically and streamline warehouse management procedures.
Features like scanners, barcodes, RFID systems, automatic identification and wireless LANs are a part of stock and warehouse management systems that focus on tracking the stream of products and improving efficiency and precision. But now, we have assembled some tips for enhancing the functionality and inventory control that could be applied to any warehouse process, with or without software.
- Good upkeep of your warehouse
Despite the fact that your website was well organized when you initially started doesn’t mean that you have to rest on your past laurels. Review the organization of your warehouse regularly and inspect your operations in fixed time intervals. Your warehouse manager should be responsible for maintaining a daily checklist, and hold your manager responsible for the regular maintenance of the warehouse.
- Identify your high sellers
By keeping your highest selling items closer to the shipping area and ensuring that they are easily accessible to the employees, you will be making the life of everyone involved quite easier. You will be able to eliminate lot of labor of your employees and they will thank you for the ease in their job. This places you in a win-win situation. However, make sure that you have identified your high sellers properly in order to avoid unnecessary physical inventory reallocation.
- Use cycle counts
Do not wait until the yearly physical inventory count comes to perform inventory control audits that are routine. Beforehand, you should perform cycle counts and assess their disparities to the time that is perfect and is extended to the entire warehouse. It is great to have so you possess a back office system that has more precise cycle counts go through all places every quarter.
- Restrict unauthorized traffic
You should restrict the unauthorized persons from entering your warehouse altogether. Then be it a pizza delivery boy who is lost in the maze of stacks of goods or the customer service guys who are not supposed to be there in the first place and picking something they shouldn’t be, you should make sure that that your warehouse is accessible only to authorized employees working there. To make things easier on this front, give your employees some kind of an identifier like a t-shirt so that you can easily identify who belongs to the warehouse and who doesn’t.
- Make room for receiving
Make sure that your inventory personnel have a good amount of office space where they can receiving goods without any hassles and constraints of space. A number of inventory errors can take place at the receiving point if inventory management personnel don’t have enough space to work. By taking receiving errors out of the picture, you will be able to relieve yourself from every type of not so kind issues later in the selling cycle, like losing time, money and credibility.
- Systematic labelling
Systematic labelling of all the goods in your warehouse would enable the employees of your warehouse to identify all the goods easily. This will help to reduce errors in the process and these seemingly small features will help you to avoid major problems that may otherwise take you by surprise.
- Stringent Quality control
Adopt stringent quality control measures in order to avoid mistakes, especially in the form of double checking your orders and eliminate all the mistakes from this vital process that interacts directly with your customers. This stringent quality control will add another layer of responsibility and a responsible quality control manager will never let things go out of hand.
- Priority picking
One of the most important trick of the trade that we have learnt is to create colored order or pick lists that has each color linked to the priority of the customer and high priority customers are assigned a particular color in the list.
- Give importance to a streamlined finishing
In order to make all your warehouse operations streamlined, you should give your warehouse a chance to finish order processing and clean up before they are done for the day. Thus, at the end of the working hours of your employees, your warehouse will be organized and your inventory will be right where it belongs in a proper place instead of lying here and there haphazardly. This will also help your employees to have a systematic start of their day without having to do unproductive work at the very start of their day.
- Make your warehouse systematic
Take a cue from how properly things and books specifically are arranged in a library, with books properly categorized and labelled. Everything is arranged neatly and the customers never get lost while looking out for a specific product they are looking for. That makes things convenient for everyone. In a similar fashion, make signs and labels to direct your personnel through your warehouse and a neatly categorized and labelled warehouse will help them to find goods easier without having to constantly bother their supervisors.