Tag Archives: Warehouse Management


Warehouses are bustling hubs of activity where precision and speed are key to meeting customer demands. While efficiency has always been a top priority in these environments, safety should not be overlooked. In fact, the relationship between efficiency and safety is tightly intertwined. Implementing safety procedures not only protects your workforce but also ensures your warehouse operates at optimal efficiency. Let’s explore how safety measures are pivotal in shaping warehouse operations.

The relationship between efficiency and safety

Although there is great emphasis on efficient operational practices, ensuring good health and safety practices goes hand in hand with these, too. This is especially relevant in the following areas.

Fewer Items Going Missing

One of the immediate benefits of a safety-conscious environment is a reduction in missing items. When your warehouse is organized and secure, it becomes much harder for equipment, products, or tools to disappear. This means fewer disruptions in operations caused by the frantic search for lost items.

Improved Awareness of Storage

Safety procedures often include guidelines for organizing and labelling storage areas. This enhanced organization ensures that employees are more aware of where items are stored, reducing the time wasted searching for goods. When everything has its place, it’s easier to locate, access, and move products efficiently. Good safety practices also mean that emergency items and personal protective equipment can be easily accessed when needed. This level of organization also helps to improve the overall operational efficiency in warehouses.

Neater Space Equals More Efficiency

A clean and orderly workspace is not just aesthetically pleasing; it also leads to greater efficiency. Cluttered or disorganized spaces can slow down operations, increase the risk of accidents, and impede the smooth flow of goods. A safe, tidy warehouse promotes productivity and minimizes disruptions.

Enhanced Inventory Practices

Efficiency in warehouse operations hinges on accurate inventory management. Safety policies often necessitate tracking and documenting the usage of certain items, like fuel for warehouse vehicles. By implementing these practices, you not only ensure that you never run out of critical supplies, but you also prevent unexpected delays due to equipment shortages.

The importance of safe equipment handling

Staff Safety

The safety of your warehouse staff should always be the top priority. Training employees in safe equipment handling not only reduces the risk of accidents but also promotes a culture of vigilance and responsibility. When workers know how to use equipment correctly, the chances of something going wrong decrease significantly, reducing the need for costly maintenance and repairs.

Correct Use of Specialized Equipment

Warehouses often rely on specialized equipment, such as forklifts, for various operations. Different types of forklifts are designed for specific tasks, and using them correctly is essential for safety and efficiency. Employees should receive training and regular refresher courses on warehouse safety handling to ensure they can operate equipment safely and effectively. Take forklifts, for example. There are many different kinds of forklifts on the market, each fulfilling a specific purpose. The incorrect use of equipment such as these can be costly for repairs and hinder the efficiency level at which certain operations happen.

Implementing safety policies for warehouses

One of the best ways that safety and efficiency can be ensured is through effective policy writing and implementation. Policies are essential for consistency in warehouse operations and provide a platform for the health and safety standards you want to maintain.

Components of a Warehouse Equipment Safety Policy

Ensuring Adherence to Safety Policies

To guarantee that safety policies are adhered to, you can:

Regular Updates to Safety Policies

Safety policies should evolve with changing technologies and regulations. Regularly review and update your safe equipment handling policy to stay current with best practices and legal requirements. It’s, therefore, imperative that safety policies are updated regularly and that the state of warehouse equipment is assessed as often as necessary.

Consistency in all warehouse operations

Stringent safety policies are essential for maintaining consistency in warehouse operations. They have a profound impact on various aspects:

Inventory Reporting

Accurate inventory reporting is essential for meeting customer demands. Safety policies help ensure that inventory is stored, handled, and recorded correctly, reducing discrepancies and errors in reporting.

Safety Standards Maintenance

By implementing safety policies consistently, you ensure that safety standards are maintained across all aspects of your warehouse operations. This consistency minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries.

Legal Compliance

Compliance with safety regulations is not just a moral imperative; it’s also a legal requirement. Consistently following safety policies helps your warehouse meet legal obligations, protecting your business from potential liabilities.

The supplier’s role in safe equipment handling

Suppliers play a crucial role in ensuring safe equipment handling in your warehouse:

Efficiency and safety go hand in hand in warehouse operations. By prioritizing safety through policies, training, and equipment handling, you not only protect your workforce but also optimize the efficiency of your warehouse. Consistency and supplier collaboration further enhance safety, ensuring a smooth and secure warehouse environment. Equipment leased from suppliers like Alto Handling has a comprehensive training and equipment maintenance guide, helping you operate as efficiently as possible and ensuring best practices.

How reliable is your asset maintenance program

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It’s no secret to most that since the COVID-19 pandemic began, there have been unprecedented economic and logistical disruptions experienced on a global scale. Supply chains were particularly hard hit by the pandemic as production and shipping were halted around many parts of the world.

In the United States, ports saw decreased demand and were forced to switch from working around the clock to minimal hours. While this led to a significant decrease in shipping times, it also resulted in ships waiting at sea for weeks before they could dock. For organizations that rely on these ports, this slowdown in productivity led to a great deal of anxiety about deliveries and customer service.

However, in the last several months, there has been a dramatic turnaround in the ports of the United States. Backlogs are starting to clear, and ships can dock in much shorter time frames than before. Does this mean that everything is back to normal? Not exactly.

The State of Global Shipping

At the height of the pandemic, there was a shortage of containers due to the decrease in demand for shipping services and ports operating at limited hours. This caused ships to wait longer than usual to dock, leading to a bottleneck in supply chains disrupted by COVID-19. As a result, many depots had difficulty meeting customer demands, and there was a corresponding drop in consumer confidence.

Now, there is a surplus of containers due to increased demand for shipping services, and ports are back up and running at full capacity. This has created a new challenge for container depots, as space is filling up quickly, and there is nowhere for the containers to go.

Perhaps one of the most positive changes since the pandemic began is the freight rates. During the first two years of the pandemic, cargo freight rates recorded the most significant spike, but shipping cost has returned to pre-pandemic levels. This is a welcome sign for those in the industry, making it easier for companies to get their goods out without destroying their margins.

Unlike last year, retailers now have more than enough inventory. As a result, warehouses are operating close to full capacity, and space is increasingly limited. This has led to a slight uptick in storage rates and an increase in the cost of warehousing, but these are expected to level off once the market stabilizes.

While the inventory situation may have improved for retailers and distributors, ordering has significantly slowed for manufacturing factories. Until current inventory levels return to normal, it’s expected that production facilities will have a difficult time ahead as work dries up and demand for resources is limited. This may mean closures or layoffs in the manufacturing sector, which could have a ripple effect on the entire supply chain.

Container repositioning and movement have also been disrupted, creating a new problem for supply chains. Container ships are now struggling to move empty containers from ports of loading to ports of discharge. This could result in congestion and delays, which is something that supply chains have been trying to avoid since the pandemic began. Now, blank or canceled sailings are on the rise ahead of the year’s most significant spending period.

The shipping industry has improved turnaround times at U.S. Ports - including Seattle, Washington

What These Conditions Indicate for Shipping

Overall, it appears that while the situation has improved since the beginning of the pandemic, there is still a lot of work to be done before things return to normal. There are still backlogs, container shortages, and an increase in storage costs, which could lead to further production slowdown.

The mindsets of consumers are also drastically shifting. As inflation has increased this past year exponentially, customers may become more price sensitive and look for cheaper alternatives. This could mean that businesses will need to re-evaluate their pricing strategies to continue to remain competitive in the market while being forced to sacrifice their margins.

Another thing to consider is the total cost of shipping, which includes fuel costs, port fees, and labor. The increase in global demand for resources has raised these costs across the board. As a result, companies may be forced to adjust their budgets or look for alternative suppliers and routes to keep their operations running efficiently. While this may not be enough to cover the full cost of shipping, it could make a difference in the long run.

Shippers also need to prepare for new challenges with canceled sailings, and some ports skipped altogether. This could leave importers and exporters scrambling to find alternative routes or adjust their supply chains accordingly. Unlike last year, many ports are functioning at full capacity, but there is still a need for increased efficiency and cost-saving measures to ensure the smooth transportation of goods.

Looking Forward

It’s clear that the shipping industry is going through a challenging period, but there are still positives to take away. Freight rates have returned to pre-pandemic levels, and warehouses are operating close to full capacity. The biggest challenge right now appears to be coping with the new norm of consumer demand and figuring out how to balance cost with competitive pricing.

Regardless of the challenges, shippers should remain optimistic and continue to look for ways to adjust their operations accordingly. By leveraging existing technology, adapting strategies, and staying ahead of market trends, shippers can ensure that their supply chains remain profitable and efficient in the long run.

David L. Buss

David L. Buss

*This article is written by David L. Buss. David is CEO of DB Schenker USA, a 150 year old leading global freight forwarder and 3PL provider. David Buss is responsible for all P&L aspects in the United States, which is made up of over 7,000 employees located throughout 39 forwarding locations and 55 logistics centers.

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If the ongoing supply chain crisis has taught us anything, it’s the critical importance of optimizing warehousing processes. However, managing a warehouse effectively is no mean feat. You’re required to be both strategist and analyst, to identify and capitalize on opportunities for improvement today while outlining and preparing for the needs of tomorrow.

The good news, though, is that managers aren’t alone when it comes to optimizing their warehouse operations. In fact, a host of technologies is emerging to make your warehouse processes more efficient and effective than ever before. This article describes strategies you can use to upscale your warehouse organizational processes through the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) systems.

The Power of Predictive Analytics

If you’ve been working in the industry for a while, you know that the market is always changing, and that means that your warehouse operations strategies must change with it. Fortunately, warehouse managers today have more powerful tools than ever before to analyze market conditions and forecast future trends.

For instance, the predictive capabilities of AI technologies are virtually unprecedented. These systems are capable of analyzing literally billions of data points in mere seconds and, through the power of machine learning, using that data to identify patterns and formulate market predictions.

These insights can be a profound asset when it comes to inventory management and distribution planning.

Remote Sensing

AI technologies aren’t just useful for analyzing data and predicting future market conditions, they’re also superb in monitoring existing conditions and defining optimization strategies as needed. This supports the kind of agility and responsiveness that are essential to avoiding the supply chain disruptions that have threatened the global economy in recent years.

For instance, AI-powered devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) can track shipments and even trace individual items as they move through the supply chain, recognizing and documenting delays and disruptions, sending out real-time alerts to stakeholders, and even defining mitigation strategies as needed.

For example, when an AI sensor detects that a shipment is likely to get snagged in congested or blocked transport routes, it can identify and even automatically reroute the most expeditious alternative pathway.

Similar automation processes can also occur within the warehouse itself. So-called “learning warehouses” can monitor internal and external data, from customer behavioral patterns to current weather conditions, and use this data to optimize picking processes, allowing products to be picked and shipped from the warehouse even before orders have been placed.

Driving Workforce Planning

Another critical function of AI technologies in warehouse operations management is to facilitate workforce planning. Warehouse operations can be exceedingly complex, involving a large number of workers and stakeholders performing a diverse array of functions across all stages of the supply chain, from the warehouse to the final point of sale.

Savvy managers can unleash the full potential of AI in workforce planning by deploying organizational planning tools, such as mind maps, to help them more clearly and comprehensively define workflows. This, in turn, enables leaders to identify opportunities to optimize staffing processes organization-wide through AI analytics and optimization.

For example, AI-driven labor planning can prevent overstaffing by combining predictive analytics with internal and external conditions analyses. These systems, in other words, operate holistically to more effectively coordinate operations across all divisions, departments, and job functions in response to existing and expected needs.

The result is greater efficiency and reliability in the supply chain, an enhanced customer experience, and a better overall working environment for warehouse workers, distributors, and shippers alike.

Instituting AI Technologies in Your Warehouse Processes

Integrating AI into your warehouse organizational processes requires some planning. The good news, though, is that you are likely to meet with significant approval from your team, who are likely to have already recognized the immense value of technological innovation in warehouse operations.

The key is to clearly define the short-term and long-range goals to want and expect to achieve with each technology you adopt. Do your research to confirm that your expectations for each innovation are plausible and cost-effective. Then, establish your priorities. A strategic, systematic conversion to AI is likely to be more efficient and effective than a sweeping transformation.

The Takeaway

Optimizing your warehouse’s organizational processes is not easy, but with the integration of artificial intelligence systems, you can achieve improvements in efficiency and productivity that you might never have dreamed possible. AI systems can help managers define optimal inventory and distribution strategies. Remote sensors can track products across the supply chain, enhancing agility and responsiveness at each stage. Learning warehouses can optimize picking and shipping processes by analyzing customer behavior, market trends, and other relevant external conditions. AI technologies can even facilitate workforce planning, helping to prevent staffing shortages or surpluses across every division and job function, resulting in a superlative customer experience and a more efficient and harmonious work environment.

*This article is written by Ainsley Lawrence. View more of Ainsley’s articles here.

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Yes, it’s that time again. The holiday season is around the corner and it is time for manufacturers to start preparing now.

Most holiday sales will come from online shopping, adding stress to supply chains and the warehousing industry. With proper management, it’s possible to plan to sustain efficient operations despite volume increases and demand.

Managers can analyze the warehouse itself and equip employees and equipment with the necessary tools to make it through the season. What techniques work and what should warehouse managers prioritize among their already lengthy to-do lists?

Preparing Warehouses for Increased Inventory

It’s time to walk the warehouse and analyze the state of everything. Is it already almost bursting with regular inventory, or is there clutter in the walkways? How much space could the warehouse reappropriate for enhanced storage solutions? What maintenance should be conducted to help bear the load of surplus inventory, spatially and financially?

Work with your logistics team on this walkthrough, which should happen long before the holidays hit, to allocate enough time to make renovations or install new structures. Rethinking the floor plan can reveal space optimizations and efficiency modifications, such as more efficient routes for workers and automated machines to pack expediently.

Countless systems and programs can help automate and streamline previously complicated inquiries and tasks, including:

Your tech stack – the tech that synergizes to make your company run seamlessly – should receive adequate maintenance to ensure technology isn’t the reason for outages or stops in production. Suppose your warehouse does not have any or just a few of these technologies. In that case, this may be a time to invest, because they are long-term solutions that will continually provide benefits outside of the holiday season.

This is the prime time to reflect on the strategies that worked in the previous holiday seasons and what could be improved. Interview the workers to gather perspectives from those who were in the fray last time inventory demand was at its peak.

Readying Workers for Increased Demand

The topmost priority is ensuring the warehouse has enough staff to handle the holidays. It’s helpful to analyze analytics and demand forecasts from the past to make accurate assessments of staffing needs. This will ensure incoming and tenured staff feels supported by the company if they know management gives proper attention to employee well-being and workload distribution.

This doesn’t only include floor staff – extra hands in payroll and human resources to help with scheduling will probably be necessary. They must be equipped with the right resources to adjust for fluctuating employee numbers throughout the holiday season.

Do not resort to increasing hours to adjust for long days, as this will cause turnover and burnout, potentially leaving the success of your holiday season – and after – in jeopardy. It’s vital to prioritize retention during this time, as seasoned staff members can assist with helping seasonal entrants acclimate more quickly to the working environment.

Providing training beforehand will instill accurate expectations for work hours – which could extend past the holiday season due to potential returns – and holiday wages.

On top of having adequate staff is training existing and upcoming staff to mentally and physically prepare them for volume. This combines with informing staff of any changes made to the warehouse, including program updates and organizational shifts that will help efficiency. For mental preparation, ensure employees have access to resources to manage stress to help keep productivity level.

Equipping Shipping Fleets for Holiday Weather and Traffic

Safety is paramount when it comes to holiday shipping. Fleets must be ready to take on the climate shifts in the region while making deliveries on time.

There are plenty of ways to ensure the warehouse’s fleet can withstand holiday conditions. Vehicle maintenance will not only save money by keeping vehicles healthier, longer, but also save on potential injuries in the workplace by keeping employees safer. With hundreds of thousands of fleet vehicles preparing to travel for peak season, it’s also about keeping everyone else on the road safe.

Checking brake pads, tires, and windshield wipers are inexpensive and basic improvements on top of more complex modifications like stronger batteries.

Provide employees with training to know what precautions to take on the road. They must receive as much training as warehouse staff to communicate about and acclimate to unexpected holiday situations. Are they aware of alternate travel routes or how to react in a severe storm?

Warehouses must prep the fleet with insurance and real-time locating system (RTLS) technologies. Especially since the holidays provide the most intensive time crunch of the year, knowing how well your current shipping system is meeting expectations can help you make adjustments along the way to improve efficiency.

It also provides the warehouse and customers with peace of mind, knowing their packages will safely make it to their houses.

Warehouses Prepare for the Holiday Season

Though the holidays can feel overwhelming for anyone in consumer industries, it’s possible to deal with the work gracefully. These timeless strategies allow warehouse managers to find improvements and discover the tactics that genuinely make a difference.

Making necessary adjustments to your warehouses, training employees, and creating safe shipping environments will also reinforce strategies to use in subsequent seasons.

* This article is written by Devin Partida. Devin is a tech writer with an interest in the IIoT and manufacturing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.

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Given that powerful equipment and trucks frequently operate close to one another, warehousing is one of the riskier industries. Rapid growth in e-commerce is driving an ever-increasing demand for the delivery of products in shorter time frames. Industrial and commercial warehouses must meet this demand while maintaining the present standards for safety.

There are thousands of reports of injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the warehousing industry annually. Many of those are the result of industrial mishaps such as slips and falls, exposure to dangerous products, and defective equipment. Warehouse safety should be the employers’ utmost priority to keep employees safe, ensure efficient operation, maximize productivity, and minimize injury or damage.

Best Practices for an Efficient Warehouse

Preventive Maintenance

The majority of occupational dangers can be avoided by taking the following precautions:

Planned Maintenance

Periodic maintenance can minimize equipment downtime and reduce maintenance costs. The fundamental maintenance advice listed below should be adhered to in order to maintain your warehouse operating at maximum capacity:

By regularly monitoring your warehouse equipment, spares, and procedures, and promoting the well-being of your personnel, you’ll not only increase the productivity of your warehouse, but you’ll also cut your losses if there’s an emergency or an accident. Make sure your warehouse is as secure as it can be by working with your staff.

The infographic below by 2Flow takes a look at ‘Creating A Safe & Efficient Warehouse’.

[click to enlarge]

Creating a safe and efficient warehouse infographic

If you need help with creating a safe and efficient warehouse in your facility, contact us today.

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In the modern era, being aware of the latest technology can provide unique benefits for your business, no matter your industry. When it comes to warehouse management, utilizing an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can help boost productivity so your processes are as efficient as possible. Here’s more about the benefits of using an ERP and why your facility should implement it as soon as possible.

What Is an ERP?

ERP software is a complete organizational solution that allows you to manage essential business aspects like supply chain operations, accounting, and other processes in one place. An ERP program allows your team to seamlessly manage your warehouse, as every kind of data you need works together more efficiently.

Rather than rely on traditional methods like maintaining physical document files, an ERP allows you to take an informed, digital approach to warehouse operations. These systems can transform your warehouse’s productivity levels so you can complete the essential components of your business faster.

Explore a few productivity benefits of ERP systems, all of which lead to subsequent advantages like better company reputation and improved client relationships.

1. Automation

Likely the most notable selling point of an ERP system is the ability to automate tedious job duties. Almost every role can include some form of automation, which allows employees to direct their skills and attention to more complex tasks. Thanks to automation, teams can be more productive in the areas of their work that matter most.

For example, instead of having your customer service team personally respond to every inquiry, ERP software can help reduce the number of interactions needed to resolve an issue. Therefore, the system can provide information on straightforward problems, allowing employees to meaningfully connect with people who have more complex issues. This increases customer satisfaction, which is extremely advantageous to your company.

Other areas for potential automation through an ERP platform include customer data management, inventory management, and purchase orders.

2. Accessibility

ERP software keeps your company’s data in a single, accessible digital space. All the information your team needs to successfully manage your warehouse is readily available whenever and wherever they need it.

This way, the right people can access the information they need to complete their job duties without having to ask a co-worker and wait for a response. Further, the platform’s accessibility means departments can easily communicate and collaborate, reducing typical warehouse issues that stem from a disorganized system.

3. Mobility

ERP systems are also completely mobile, which is especially advantageous today. No matter the size of your warehouse or whether you have one or a dozen facilities to manage, your team is likely in a few different places throughout the week. Reducing communication issues that come with a spread-out team is easy with ERP software.

Every approved and connected employee can access the ERP platform from their smartphones, laptops, or tablets, whether in the warehouse or off-site. Therefore, your team no longer needs to wait until the right person is at their desk to approve a document — it can all happen on the go, keeping productivity levels high.

4. Forecasting and Integration

No one can accurately predict the future, but you can forecast trends to have at least a small idea of what is to come. ERP software can navigate supply chain issues and other disruptions in your warehouse. That makes you better equipped to create sales reports and generate additional crucial information to circumvent sudden delays and high demand.

Similarly, ERP platforms are ideal for supply chain management integration. These features allow you to see the full view of your warehouse’s operations, including an in-depth look at your distribution channels. If you manage more than one facility, you use the system to view details regarding all of them in one location.

5. Data Security

A data breach can set your team’s efficiency back tenfold as they work to correct the error, increase protections, and manage your company’s reputation. Switching to an ERP platform lets you better protect your data from attacks, as software improvements and updates continuously happen for today’s ERP systems.

Moving Forward With an ERP Solution

If your team is interested in incorporating an ERP solution to better manage your warehouse’s productivity, consider doing so with the help of a consulting firm that understands the full spectrum of ERP. ERP software is advantageous in many ways for warehouses. Still, it can be a complicated system to configure, especially when you currently rely on an outdated management process that will take skill and time to convert.

Maximize your warehouse’s productivity by partnering with a reliable team to make implementing and understanding your new ERP software simple. This way, you can discover the best features of your new software without sacrificing any efficiency to learn it. Your warehouse will be reaping the rewards of this solution in no time.

* This article is written by Devin Partida. Devin is a tech writer with an interest in the IIoT and manufacturing. She is also the Editor-in-Chief of ReHack.com.

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Warehouses are at the core of order fulfillment. The quality of your delivery can only be as good as the extent of your warehouse’s efficiency. If you are not running a tight ship at the warehouse and making each second count, you will have difficulty with receiving inventory in time, shipping your order as per customer expectations, extracting optimal worker productivity, and managing your costs.

The faster things move at the warehouse, the happier your customers will be and the lower your costs become, all of which feeds back to more growth for your business. Here are some practical time-saving tips that can help you get the most out of your warehouse.

1. Set Aside Space for High Volume Product

Different products will have different levels of order volume. Many times, products will follow the 80-20 principle. The majority of deliveries will involve just a couple of products. Instead of giving equal treatment and space to all products, it would be more efficient to allocate warehouse space and other resources in line with order volume.

If you are running warehouse management software, you can access reports that show you the products that comprise the majority of orders. Next, set aside a section of the warehouse for your high-volume products that would allow your staff to process orders with minimal distractions. No need for them to move back and forth past stretches of low-volume products in order to reach the high-volume items.

Ideally, this high order volume section should be nearest to the packing stations so your pickers are walking shorter distances per order. If you’re using dynamic slotting, consider adding extra physical space around these shelves to accommodate shifting patterns of greater traffic.

2. Organize Workstations and Layout for the Workflow

Setting aside dedicated space is not the only way the arrangement of your warehouse can help cut down processing times. Think about inventory receipt and customer order workflows when determining the layout and the arrangement of workstations at the warehouse. Minimize the amount of time workers spend looking for tools, reaching out for equipment or handing orders to the next team by ensuring employee workstations are positioned near the resources, departments and vendors they work with.

Workstation organization also helps reduce clutter, minimize errors, lower inventory loss, break bottlenecks, slash pick-up times, maximize storage use, enhance safety and strengthen the overall organization. Yes, that’s a lot. But if you doubt any of those claims, it’s time to reorganize your picking stations.

3. Leaner Inventory

Lean inventory is not just a good strategy for manufacturing. It is just as important for warehouse operations. Aside from space, cost, and cash flow benefits that come with maintaining only as much product as you need, there are time savings as well.

Think about the time it takes to work your way around a warehouse with thousands of boxes compared to one with hundreds. Leaner inventory ensures you can get to what you need quicker and have the product out the door faster by minimizing the distances staff have to move to process orders. The difference of dozens of seconds or a couple of minutes may not seem much on its own but these micro-savings quickly add up in the grand scheme of performance.

While an industry-wide best practice before COVID, we now see some threats here. So the new lean goal is to have enough product to fill orders through the longest lead time you’ve experienced for a resupply.

4. Automation

Human error and fatigue are key barriers to timely fulfillment. The lower the degree of human intervention in the process, the higher the capability to fulfill orders in good time. Automation here would be in both mechanical and software form. You could, for instance, install a conveyor belt to speed up the process of moving items from one section of the warehouse to another.

Invest in warehouse management software as well that enables both high-level and detailed views of warehouse activity and inventory in near real-time. Such systems also enhance efficiency by identifying the most ideal methods and routes for fulfillment. They can send out automated notifications to smartphones and other mobile devices thus cutting down the time it would take to manually distribute pick lists.

5. Plan for Reverse Logistics

The warehouse is not all about receiving fresh inventory from manufacturers/distributors and sending out products to customers. As long as the warehouse is aiding the fulfillment of online orders, there will be returns when a customer finds that the product was not as per their expectation. There will also be recalls due to defects as well as returns from end-of-life products.

Known as reverse logistics, this process can introduce hurdles if not well managed even if your outbound process is working seamlessly. Everything is, after all, happening under the same roof so inefficiencies in reverse logistics will inevitably affect the time you dedicate to outbound fulfillment.

Address reverse logistics by developing effective intake, repair and/or recycling mechanisms for returns. Set aside space to inspect returns and determine whether the item should be placed back in inventory, repaired, recycled or disposed of at a discount.

6. Review Performance Regularly

Warehouse activity will not remain at the same level all year. For instance, the products classified as high volume won’t necessarily be static. It is possible for you to have a different set of products at a high volume at the end of the year compared to the beginning of the year. Regularly evaluate your warehouse operations and explore ways of making the process more efficient.

If you do not regularly review activity and performance, what may have been set up to improve efficiency may gradually become a barrier to maximizing time savings. By identifying emerging inefficiencies, you can make changes as and where needed to make things better.

Identify and set key performance indicators that become benchmarks for your routine reviews. Make adjustments when performance falls below the desired target including applying new ideas for inventory management.

Wrapping Up

These tips for improving warehouse efficiency are relatively straightforward. Some of them such as planning the layout and setting aside space for high order products require hardly any investment to do. Get all these six right and observe your warehouse efficiency rise as turnaround times fall.

*This article is written by Jake Rheude. Jake is the Vice President of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

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There was a time when the company warehouse was a forlorn shed in the middle of nowhere, a spot where overstock items, customer returns, and little-used supplies could be kept out of the way. All of the “good stuff” was on retail shelves.

Fast forward to 2022 and the rise of eCommerce.

The company warehouse is no longer just a warehouse, but a high-functioning distribution center (DC) that is at the forefront of business operations.

The demands on the modern DC are plentiful.

It must be able to handle a non-stop flow of traffic, provide a framework hospitable for 24-hour delivery, and offer an environment conducive to both human and automated workers.

And it must be able to accomplish all of this in a business climate that has seen unprecedented rises in costs and sustainability demands.

As a result, some of the most prominent features of contemporary ecommerce warehouse design include:

While these are a few of the most general trends in distribution center design, they far from tell the whole story of how scientific DC design has become.

Keep reading the comprehensive infographic below to find out everything there is to know about eCommerce DC design in 2022.

The Anatomy of a Highly Optimized eCommerce Distribution Center infographic

A highly-optimized distribution center design is the key to efficient operations. Modern DCs are all about mobility and leveraging available space to its fullest potential to maximize utilization and production. Use these design trends to get products to customers as quickly and affordably as possible.

* This article and infographic have been written and created by Allied Steel Buildings. Allied delivers pre-engineered, prefabricated metal building projects within the commercial, manufacturing, cold storage markets, and more.

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Warehouse operations are the foundation of any company that processes and ships orders. An efficient warehouse means that you’re optimizing labor costs, getting a good return on investment on your space, and, most importantly – ensuring your customers get their orders on time. At USC Consulting Group, we believe that warehouse operations can be used to boost your business’ growth. Want to learn effective strategies to do so? Keep reading to find out!

Reduce the Potential for Human Error

According to The Balance, human error is one of the most significant contributors to decreased productivity. Human error can set back deliverables, delay orders, and mess up operations systems. But how can you reduce such occurrences? Well, it will be critical to ensure that every employee undergoes proper training. This will help reduce the events of basic mistakes. However, there will always be a certain error level irrespective of training. To mitigate this, invest in solid warehouse design. Some solutions to implement in your design will be clearly labeled products, easy-to-access racks, and scannable items.

Organize Your Inventory Properly

A well-organized warehouse can pave the way for optimized operations. An intuitive workflow, logical storage, and segregated products will ensure your employees know where to go, what to do, and how to find items. By following a systematic method into your inventory organization, you’ll be able to process orders faster and with more ease. Below are some easy organization strategies to implement today:

In addition to physically organizing your warehouse, keep everyone on track and productive through digital tools as well. For example, create a process map to allow your team to analyze processes and outcomes while assigning and reviewing tasks. This will keep your workflows organized, as the whole team will get both the micro and macro picture of what they’re working on.

Incentives for Workers

You’re relying a great deal on your employees when it comes to warehouse operations. You will have to keep your workforce happy and thriving to boost productivity. Setting up an accepting and uplifting workplace will be critical for this, as company culture sets the tone for employee performance. In addition, offer incentives to workers to motivate them to do better. Reward systems could be tiered or pay-based, but make sure the rewards are tangible and make a difference to your workers.

Track Results

An essential part of any company’s operations is tracking results, Demonstrating Value reports. Besides monitoring marketing and financial performance, be sure to follow your operations performance. Set up metrics for evaluation, for example – time efficiency, capacity utilization, safety, production costs, and quality concerns. Use logistics technology to track these results consistently for reliable data, and then streamline from there. This is a great way to optimize operations, as it will keep you pivoting and adapting to change. Furthermore, warehouses have lots of moving parts. Tracking results helps narrow down which strategies are working and which aren’t. You also want to consider real-time data so you can see how each warehousing process is doing in a timely manner.

Running a warehouse is a complex puzzle, and it requires an excellent level of planning, physical optimization, and analysis. Be sure to follow these strategies to ensure that your warehouse operations run like a well-oiled machine – it is truly a great way to grow your business to the top.

Need additional support for optimizing your warehouse operations? USC Consulting Group helps companies reach their highest potential by improving operating excellence across the supply chain. Click here to learn more about what we do today.

*This article was written by Dean Burgess. Dean runs Excitepreneur, which celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurs. He understands that there are many types of entrepreneurs, and strives to provide helpful information to assist them in achieving their particular idea or goal.

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As long as we have transported goods from place to place, we have had to figure out how to keep track of those goods. Warehouse management is the modern iteration of this pursuit, and there has never been a better time to manage this work efficiently and effectively. However, not all warehouses take advantage of the technology that makes this efficiency possible.

Here’s a look at how technology can benefit your warehouse and help your business run at its absolute best.

Learn how to eliminate wasteful practices and procedures in your supply chain by partnering with USC Consulting Group. Call 800.888.8872 to schedule a consultation.

Protecting Your Information

Some warehouse owners and managers assume that bringing in more technology will make them more vulnerable to cyber attacks. Although there is an element of truth to this idea, the simple fact of the matter is if you use any technology at all – which, these days, you most certainly do – you are already vulnerable to hackers and other malicious parties. Rather than shirking further technological advancements, the solution is to be proactive on cybersecurity.

After all, small businesses are some of the most likely targets for cyber attacks. Many entrepreneurs assume their business will be safe, simply because it doesn’t have the funds to provide a large payout. Businesses that do have those funds, however, such as banks and investment firms, typically have very tight cyber security. Attacks on these businesses are more likely to fail as a result, making mid-size businesses an attractive option.

Since cybersecurity is an ever-changing game, work with a knowledgeable, established team to keep your protocols up-to-date. You can even look into hiring an “ethical hacker.” There are trusted hackers for hire who will do their best to break your security efforts to ensure they’re sufficient and identify any weak spots. This can be an absolute life-saver, especially if you have any subtle issues you and your security team may not have spotted otherwise.

Tracking Your Inventory

At the end of the day, your business is all about making sure you know what items are going where, and when. Many inventory management companies rely primarily on barcodes to keep this work moving. However, Explainthatstuff notes they come with plenty of drawbacks. First and foremost, barcodes can be difficult to scan. They rely heavily on lighting and angles, and these factors aren’t always consistent from print to print. They’re also easily compromised if scratched or damaged.

These issues are surmountable, obviously, but they can slow workers down and leave them frazzled and frustrated. Switching to RFID-based tracking can speed your work up significantly, as this method is far more consistently effective. You can track more inventory faster, with fewer complications along the way. This will lead to quicker and more accurate inventory reads, making your warehouse run smoother than ever.

Adding Automation

Chances are good that you are more than aware of how helpful it can be to reduce man hours and human error via automation. But you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that you don’t need to invest in robotics to add automation to your warehouse.

At the heart of effective inventory management, there are technology solutions like inventory software that can help automate your processes. From real-time inventory tracking to improved communication to faster customer fulfillment, by investing in the right software, you can bring your warehouse into the automated age. It’s also crucial that you analyze all your inventory data to learn where you can make improvements. Look for data analysis professionals—you can find data analytics companies through online job sites where you can learn about their ratings, rates, and experience.

Facilitating Employee Success

Finally, there are many technologies out there that can help you make sure your employees are given the best opportunities to reach their full potential. For example, you can invest in training software that takes your workers through everything they need to know to thrive in the warehouse. This can be especially useful when it comes to safety procedures and other aspects of the work that need to be approached collaboratively and cohesively.

Putting off new technology keeps your company from reaching its best potential. We hope this article has helped you see some of the benefits your warehouse can reach by working in some of the latest tech. Take advantage of innovation, and your business can thrive!

*This article was written by Dean Burgess. Dean runs Excitepreneur, which celebrates the achievements of entrepreneurs. He understands that there are many types of entrepreneurs, and strives to provide helpful information to assist them in achieving their particular idea or goal.

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