Redundant warehouse processes are very costly to your business because redundancies often result in inventory inaccuracy, errors in order fulfillment, and increased labor requirements. Removing these unnecessary processes will allow you to streamline your order picking process while improving inventory and picking accuracy. Fewer redundancies will enable you to lower your inventory levels, better utilize your warehouse space, and improve labor efficiency.
So, how do you go about eliminating warehouse redundancies? Examine each of the following warehouse management strategies for how they can be implemented in your warehouse to eliminate redundant warehouse processes. Each approach’s effectiveness and relevance will depend on where your organization is on its continuous improvement journey. However, each strategy is designed to address potential redundancies in your warehouse's pick process, order fulfillment processes, and inventory management processes.
Utilize A Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system is a tactical software tool that helps manage and control resources in a warehouse or distribution center. This tool enables warehouse staff to eliminate redundant warehouse processes using a database that keeps track of inventory, storage locations, and labor requirements. That helps to allocate resources to specific tasks in the most efficient ways.
For example, a warehouse management system can facilitate picking optimization. It can coordinate the best picking strategy for seasonal changes in demand. It can also generate pick lists that follow paths that eliminate redundant worker steps.
Also, warehouse management systems can help plan replenishments of consumable resources. For example, it can signal the timing of a drop trailer service for the pickup and drop off of pallet trailers. It can also indicate the reorder of packing materials and office supplies.
Any warehouse resource can be tracked and managed by warehouse management software so that redundant processes are eliminated.
Another way to minimize redundant warehouse processes is by increasing resource visibility. Warehouse management can improve visibility around the warehouse in several ways.
- Labeling and barcoding - Product and location labels and barcodes help to improve inventory accuracy and picking efficiency. When an inventory item is handled, its name can be checked or scanned to ensure that it is in the right location or that it is the correct item to fill an order. Using labels to ensure location accuracy allows you to reduce inventory redundancy and increase cycle count accuracy. Also, labels and barcode technology increase picking accuracy, which reduces mispicks and fulfillment redundancies and leads to improved customer service and fulfillment lead times.
- Layout and configuration - Improving the design of your warehouse can reduce the number of redundant steps that workers take to put away inventory and fulfill orders. The right warehouse configuration can optimize your labor and machine hours. For example, laying out your workstations sequentially improves inventory flow from receiving to shipping while eliminating redundancies in stocking, picking, and packing operations.
- ABC analysis - An ABC inventory analysis and stocking strategy will enable you to organize your warehouse so that faster-moving items are easier to access for restocking and order fulfillment. With the ABC strategy, you place your bestselling or seasonal inventory where it can be picked and processed more efficiently. Whereas, your slow-moving or out-of-season stock is placed in harder to reach areas where it is not impeding the flow of your fast-moving inventory.
Finally, standardized processes that are reliable and repeatable go a long way toward eliminating process redundancies. Standard methods can be written into standard operating procedures and training manuals. These procedures can be referenced when designing your warehouse management software and when developing your employee training materials.
Standard procedures facilitate troubleshooting process bottlenecks. They also lay the foundation for continuous improvement activities that are designed to eliminate redundant warehouse processes.
In closing, it is essential to remember that redundant processes add unnecessary cost to warehouse operations. And as your organization grows, any redundancies will become more costly because they force you to spend exponentially more on labor, inventory, and customer complaint resolution. By implementing warehouse management software and standardized procedures, you can increase your warehouse’s visibility and serviceability to eliminate your warehousing redundancies.
If you incorporate the use of pallets into your warehouse improvement strategy, consider Pallet Market for pallet solutions that meet your warehousing needs. Contact Pallet Market to request a quote for pallets today.