Process efficiency is crucial in a successful warehousing operation and small changes in accuracy and efficiency can make a big difference to the bottom line. Beyond managing labour costs, there are other significant changes you can apply to your operations to increase warehouse efficiencies.
Here, we discuss the top five ways to make your warehouse more efficient while simultaneously reducing costs.
Warehouse management systems
From poor inventory management to poor space optimisation, a warehouse management system (WMS) provides an effective solution to counteract such struggles. Consider it a software application that supports the day-to-day operations of your warehouse, allowing you to gain total control of your inventory, from receiving to shipping.
A WMS provides a full visibility of your inventory and helps to complete daily tasks such as prioritising picks, assigning picks and tracking their progress. Such visibility can promote a better understanding of your inventory, so you don’t face either carrying too much stock or worse, running out of stock.
A WMS can help to optimise stock flow by utilising an automated replenishment system to top up pick face stock. Scanned picks provide a seamless link back onto the software and then onto the invoice or transfer note. This can improve record accuracy, reduce lead times, minimise the need for safety stock and allow you to gain better stock control, thereby creating a faster inventory turnover.
A single touch point
A slow, inefficient and unproductive warehousing operation is likely to be caused by a number of smaller issues such as outdated processes and poor productivity levels. To help increase efficiency, it’s important to develop modern systems and techniques, and a single touch point system can help with that.
Combine picking and packing into a single touch point i.e. pack as you pick via workstations with label printers and packing materials, and you’ll find you can significantly improve labour productivity.
Manage inbound goods
Are you getting everything you have paid for when goods arrive? Is it all there? A box count at goods inwards is only really a cursory check. You can make certain through weighing your inbound goods as you unload. Choose from highly proficient mobile scales such as forklift scales, pallet truck scales or static systems such as floor or bench scales which are ideal for use in goods-in inventory control.
When you consider that most warehousing and distribution centres rely on efficient and reliable data to ensure peak performance, scales can provide an ideal opportunity to measure that data. By utilising scales and systems to manage your inbound goods, you can ensure shipments and billing are 100% accurate.
Manage outbound shipping costs
Is your chosen shipping method the most cost-effective way of sending your goods? If you’re unsure, weighing and dimensioning can help. The data captured via automated dimensioning and weighing systems can help you to control your outbound shipping costs by allowing selection of the most cost-effective carrier and reducing dimensional weight (DIM) carrier charges for shipping irregularly shaped or heavy items.
Move accuracy to the point of pick
For many operations, weighing as part of the picking process is a new concept. Most operations do weigh, but never at the point of pick. Instead they weigh as the package is about to depart the warehouse, unfortunately by then mistakes have already been made and there is a high cost to correct them.
By moving quality control to the front of the process, the picker checks the accuracy of the goods as they pick them, reducing the investment in stand-alone quality control processes. This can be done by using a mobile picking solution to provide an accurate and efficient answer that prevents mistakes in picking and reduces costs further down the line.
Could your warehouse operation be better?
As much as 46% of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK do not have a digital warehouse management system, instead using manual paper based processes to manage their operation. Integrating efficient inventory and pick management systems, using weighing to verify accuracy, and implementing a WMS can make a huge difference to your productivity levels, provide significant cost savings and increase profitability.
At Avery Weigh-Tronix, we have efficient and digitised weighing solutions for the warehousing and distribution industry, helping you to manage your inbound and outbound goods, shipping costs and picking operation more efficiently.
If you’d like to know how your warehouse can benefit from automated weighing and dimensioning systems contact us to speak to our experts.