There is no single way to properly run a warehouse, but there are some principles that remain consistent regardless of what type of warehousing solution is in use. Common warehousing mistakes can end up adding extra costs, impairing workflow and causing other disruptions that prevent your operation from working at optimal levels. Even if you think you are doing everything correctly, taking a look at these common errors can still prove useful. Who knows, you might be committing one without realizing it.
Common Warehousing Mistakes
Keeping Excess Inventory in Stock
This is most often seen among wholesalers or anyone else who makes use of bulk discounts. Having more inventory than you need can sometimes be useful in order to reply to unexpectedly high demand, but there is a difference between giving yourself wiggle room and hoarding. Holding on to excess stock takes up valuable space, ties up money that could be better used, and prevents you from having a lean and efficient operation. Try talking to your supplier to arrange for large orders to get broken up into smaller batches so inventory can be managed more easily.
Not Optimizing the Picking Path
The “picking path” is the way that goods and workers move through the warehouse when pick-and-pack is underway for a given order. An optimal picking route is one where each item to be pulled is in close proximity and the path ends near the dispatch section of the warehouse. Unfortunately, as stock is moved around, picking paths can become veritable circuits that significantly impair efficiency and drive up labor costs. While finding a way to ensure a clear, straight path is not always easy, spending some time to think about how the picking path can be changed often yields results and helps improve the overall workflow.
Clinging to Paperwork
This is more common among smaller warehouses and refers to when the warehouse sees itself as not needing to upgrade to more advanced technology. Unfortunately, paperwork makes inventory problems more likely through delays, lost documents, and in the worst-case scenario, lost stock. Fortunately, warehouse management systems have grown more affordable and user friendly over the past few years, so now is one of the best times to consider converting.
Lack of Safety Management or Housekeeping
Between the high racking, forklifts, heavy boxes, and high activity, a warehouse is an inherently dangerous environment. Even if the most obvious risks are addressed, there can still be plenty of hidden hazards that can get overlooked without adequate health and safety management. Just because no one has been hurt so far doesn’t mean it won’t or can’t happen in the future. On a related matter, common-sense housekeeping steps like cleaning up a messy loading dock are ways that can not only reduce the risk to employees (and thus save time, money, and injury), but help improve efficiency as people become able to move more freely and comfortably through the warehouse.
Neglecting Staff Development
The warehouse employees are a key asset that can’t be neglected. Taking time to devise ways to improve motivation and engagement can see excellent returns as turnover rates go down and employees work harder. Making sure employees get resources and encouragement may come with some costs, but these will be far less than those required to fill a vacated position.
Choose a Warehousing Provider Who Knows Their Stuff
APS Fulfillment Inc. is a leading warehousing services and third-party logistics company that operates out of Miami, Florida. Our integrative approach tackles supply chain management, real-time inventory management, warehousing services, shipping, and everything else needed to ensure your goods get to their destination. We’ve stored, sorted, delivered, and quality-assured products of all shapes and sizes for all kinds of companies across a wide variety of industries. Contact us by phone at 954-582-7450 or by email at [email protected] for more ways third-party logistics services can support and grow your business.