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10 Tips for Improving Warehouse Operations
Improving warehouse operations is crucial to ensure orders get out on time and in full. Optimization and resource scheduling technology can help to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and guarantee customer satisfaction.
By Keith Moore – Posted December 2023
1. Optimize warehouse layout and improve space utilization. Reconfigure the warehouse layout to minimize travel distances for workers and inventory. Use more vertical space with high-density racks, vertical shelves, and AS/RS systems. A WMS can improve space utilization by optimizing slotting, product placement, and storage strategies.
2. Automate operational decision-making. Consider an automated planning system that optimizes the work historically released and executed by warehouse workers. An automated planner orchestrates all the complex inbound and outbound work that must be done, considering all constraints to maximize efficiency. Automated planning helps free the workforce to handle any issues that may pop up.
3. Use a warehouse management system. A WMS tracks and manages inventory accurately. It can prioritize inventory items and allocate space accordingly. A WMS provides real-time visibility into inventory levels, locations, and movements, which reduces stockouts, overstocking, and order fulfillment errors.
4. Streamline order picking. Implement efficient strategies such as batch picking, which allows pickers to efficiently pick multiple orders in a single pass. Zone picking assigns workers to specific zones to reduce travel time. Wave picking divides orders into waves based on priority, size, or destination. Use handheld picking devices or voice technologies to reduce errors and improve speed.
5. Understand automation’s limits. Automation alone may not be the answer. The harsh reality is that automated technology for picking, retrieving, staging, and shipping takes a lot of work and operating expenses to maintain the same amount of output compared to paying traditional labor more.