Bad warehouse logistics practices lead to profit losses, whether you have dozens of warehouses at the core of your business or one which barely gets a second thought. In fact, there’s a strong chance that the less important you consider your warehouse, the worse off your current warehouse logistics are—but you should consider this a good thing. After all, inefficiency is an opportunity for more profit, as you figure out ways to cut down on the waste that’s eating your time, money, and resources (and perhaps find a new way to outperform your competitors). Today, we’ll cover five ways for any business to improve its warehouse logistics, and claim the profit hidden in your current flaws.
1) Recruit top industry talent.
No matter what your configuration, the core of your warehouse logistics rests on the shoulders of employees. If your employees can't keep up with the quality of your configuration, then you can't hit peak efficiency. In turn, good employees make for efficient, profitable logistics.
Hiring good staff means either reaching out to a staffing firm, maintaining and training your own in-house recruiters or spending a lot of time finding the perfect fit. Training your employees well from day one will save you countless headaches and make your warehouse logistics as smooth as they can possibly be. A good training program is consistent, well-documented, and considers every angle. A ‘wing it until something goes wrong’ approach doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Morale can be the trickiest factor. Pay and benefits matter, but so does paying attention to what you’re being told. If the workers are complaining about a problem, it probably deserves attention (even if there’s no solution in sight). Happy warehouse staff tends to be much more efficient, so keep morale a priority.
2) Improve organizational tools.
The best warehouse staff in the world can’t compete with an unmotivated one, if their tools aren’t up to the job. That means modernizing everything; integration of every bit of data connected to your warehouse logistics into an easy-to-process solution is paramount to warehouse logistics success. The best warehouses use dynamic databases linked to handy analytic tools, key performance indicator-tracking analytics software and keep up with every change in the warehouse with zero manual input.
3) Improve layout.
Over the years, warehouse logistics experts have developed quite a few optimal ways to arrange warehouses, dependent on the needs of the owner. For example, a seasonal sporting goods store may have different seasonal and year-round sections, arranged such that off-season items can sit a while without causing trouble or confusion. A cosmetics or drug company might go for narrow, tall aisles and utilize platforms tailored for precision selection of small items.
4) Successfully identify issues.
Warehouse logistics are but a part of the larger picture; if you have unreliable shipping in or out of your warehouse, inconsistencies in packaging, etc., then the peak efficiency of your warehouse suffers accordingly. When you identify a problem within your warehouse, be sure to carefully consider the possibility that the initial problem exists elsewhere.
If you can’t justify the time, effort, resources or cash to enact an overhaul of your warehouse logistics, then utilizing the services of a third party logistics (3pl) provider can be your single best option. Leveraging the expertise and tools of full-time logistics staff can give dramatic returns for any company. It may also be beneficial for you to outsource administration, billing or operations as needed.
Interested in learning more ways to improve warehouse efficiency, or perhaps exploring the benefits of working with a trusted third-party logistics (3pl) provider? Click below to find out the top eight benefits of partnering with a 3PL provider!