Warehouse managers have the difficult task of keeping track of all the materials in a warehouse, including where products are currently located and where they should be. You would think the advancement of software has made this job somewhat easier—and it has to some degree—but software advancement has also led to added responsibility.
Defining Warehouse Management Systems
Software that is able to process the day-to-day operations of a warehouse is considered a warehouse management system. Previously, these systems weren’t able to do much more than locate products within a warehouse—but warehouse management systems can now track a package for the duration of its movement from purchase to end user. Management systems should be able to process the associated transactions, including shipping, receiving, and pickups.
Keep in mind that behind management technology are real people who are still responsible for the actual managing. While software has become a valuable tool in accommodating warehouse management, the human aspect still plays a vital role. That means real steps must be taken on a regular basis to ensure the warehouse operates at a premium level with minimal mistakes. In order to reach that point of effectiveness, here are some key tips:
- Organize your warehouse: Experience will show you which products sell the most. So why not structure your warehouse in a manner which keeps the most popular products together and on an SKU that’s easy to get to? Even for companies that sell a variety of products, it’s beneficial to organize your warehouse so that it distinguishes products in a deliberate manner. It’s also worth keeping in mind that product orders may change by season and so adjusting your warehouse accordingly could be a regular task.
- Assess your pick-and-pack method: Does batch picking work better for your company? Is it more productive to go with single or multi-order picking? Do you need multiple pickers? Don’t be afraid to test different methods to figure out which method is most efficient.
- Less shipping carton choices: Reducing the types of shipping cartons to two or three box types at the most will help pickers pack orders more efficiently—and it is also an effective way to get the most out of freight expenses. Using some custom boxes is inevitable, but keeping this number down will go a long way in supporting a pick/path system.
- Embrace technology: Embrace the warehouse management system technology and learn how to maximize the applications that have been positive for warehouse solutions. Be innovative and think of ways to develop automated solutions to reduce any wasted time in your current system.
You may look at this list and wonder how you can implement any of these changes—or you may feel like you already have a fair grip on the way your warehouse is currently managed. But the goal is not to be ‘fair’ or feel afraid of change. APS Fulfillment, Inc. can find and execute warehouse solutions to take your fulfillment services to the next level.