Here a couple essential non-mechanical tools, technologies, and management processes that will help your warehouse run as smooth and efficient as possible.
E-mail is a great communication tool, although when it comes to time-sensitive material, direct contact is much more efficient. Make use of wireless technology to enhance production: smartphone, tablet, personal laptop, or even go old school and use a radio or walkie-talkie. You can also employ the use of telecommunication services, which let you have high-quality, face-to-face interactions no matter where you are. But make sure you spring for a service that’s cloud-based so you can have ultimate flexibility in how, and where you connect from. Whichever service you choose to implement in your warehouse, make sure it remains a staple of your communication practices throughout the day. This gives you real-time efficiency and vastly improves your overall productivity.
In the supply chain, there are a seemingly endless amount of moving pieces and hands involved in the procurement and manufacturing of products. As products move through the pipeline, more hands and money are involved at every step of the way. Materials must be stored and received with complete compliance and accuracy. Your database should be updated as merchandise is taken in.
Having one person responsible for receiving items to a list, then sending the materials off to be stocked, before sending the list to be approved, and finally the database updated, is not efficient. With ERP distribution software like Kenandy, you can assign one individual to be in charge of all these tasks. ERP software covers a broad range of the moving pieces in the supply chain – from procurement all the way to shipping and inventory management.
Organization of the warehouse is critical. Determining how new materials are stored and itemized before they’re shipped out is a continual task that should be streamlined. Invest in a storage system that will meet the many diverse needs of your business. The layout should be unique to your warehouse, yet still follow a streamlined, easy-to-use process. For example, if items are supposed to be shipped together, they should likely be stored together.
If you store materials on pallets, then you need to have an inventory layout that will support the movement of pallet jacks or forklifts required to access pallets on high shelves.
Marc Wulfraat, President of MWPVL, put out a list of helpful tips on picking procedures that states, “Since 50 plus percent of warehouse labor resources are typically involved in picking, packing, and shipping outbound orders, it usually makes sense to focus on these operations first.”
Pulling the wrong item from a spot means you not only have to eventually retrieve that item and put it in the correct spot, but you also have to move the entire product that’s stored in the wrong space to the correct place. When your stock is organized and marked with a number system (SKU, PLU, etc.) your employees will have a better chance of identifying the correct product and minimize mistakes. The right inventory software can combine picking lists of several different orders so you can pull merchandise in bulk before itemizing them to the correct places in the shipping department.
Following these conceptual tools will help your warehouse run smoother and achieve the growth you’ve been striving toward.
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