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Warehouses are some of the most vital but overlooked areas of any business, anywhere in the world. This is because it is often seen as an afterthought to the main production or retail operations or, worse, as a dumping ground for everything that doesn’t fit in with the rest of the business.
This attitude can be very damaging to productivity and efficiency because the chances are everything will either come in or go out via the warehouse. So instead of thinking about the warehouse last, business owners need to consider it first, especially when expanding the area.
It is most likely you will be expanding your warehouse because you have got busier and need more space to store materials for production or sale. If you are becoming busier, then chances are that the old warehousing practices won’t cut it anymore. If you have to go down endless racks of stock each time you pick an order, it will take too long, and you can’t hold all of that stock in just one area for easy picking.
The answer is to do both and have bulk storage that feeds easy pick racks with approx three days of stock in them. This can be topped up with goods by staff as they put deliveries away, and also help with correct stock rotation so that nothing is left at the bottom of a stack until it is damaged or its date has expired
More stock means more packaging, and that, in turn, means more cardboard and plastic clogging up the arteries of your business. If you can’t reduce this amount of waste by ordering from suppliers who package stock differently, you need to manage it.
Sourcing a baling machine and bale ties to safely wrap and stack your waste can free up space in the warehouse and even add to your revenue, as some companies will pay you to take it away if it is grouped properly.
You will need to look at the couriers you use and when they collect. If you just have one collection a day, as that time approaches, you will not be able to move in the despatch area for packages, which can be one of the factors in potentially damaging whatever it is you are sending out.
Having 3-4 collections during the day not only helps the business manage its workload but also means that the despatch area is cleared regularly. This also allows you to source different couriers for each pick-up, and this will help to keep their pricing competitive.
If you want your business to function correctly, you need to have an efficient warehouse. This will start with the racking and what you put on it, right down to how and when the end product is collected. This will all create waste, and dealing with that waste efficiently is the final but very important piece in this puzzle.