Warehouse efficiency is critical within the world of e-commerce, with poor productivity potentially leading to order errors, delays and dissatisfied customers.
As a result of the pandemic, e-commerce has now become more popular than ever before, so it pays to make sure that your order fulfilment process is as slick as possible.
With so many variables to consider within warehouse operations, there are many issues that can impact productivity.
Discover the strategies you can put in place to help maximise your warehouse efficiency, ensuring that your business provides excellent customer service every time.
Strategies to improve warehouse efficiency
Running a tight ship within your warehouse can be challenging, but there are multiple strategies you can implement to help your business save time and money:
Make full use of the warehouse space
When a warehouse starts to get full, it’s easy to assume that the solution is to get a larger warehouse. Instead, it could be worth considering whether your business is making full use of the space available.
Assess the availability of vertical space – fitting taller storage units could help you organise greater levels of stock within the existing footprint, preventing the need for a bigger, costlier warehouse.
Storing small items on large shelving units is also a waste of valuable space. Evaluate whether your products are stored on an appropriately sized unit to ensure that you are maximising every inch of space.
Use of technology
Small to medium-sized business that relies on manual processes are likely to experience errors at some stage within their warehouse operations.
The use of a warehouse management system (WMS) is essential for improving productivity as it can help:
- Manage the receipt of goods
- Manage where items are located
- Real-time stock updates
- Track the dispatch of goods
The use of technology can help eliminate errors by providing automated and accurate data. Real-time stock information is particularly useful in terms of inventory management, preventing you from over-ordering and ensuring that high demand items are well stocked.
Invest in your staff
If your warehouse staff feel undervalued, they are likely to feel unmotivated and will struggle to perform at their best.
There are many ways in which businesses can create a positive environment for their warehouse staff to help promote a productive work culture. Some of these include:
- Sufficient training
- Prioritising safety
- Pay incentives
- Valuing their input
- Company events to strengthen relationships
Your warehouse staff are the ones who truly know the ins and outs of warehouse operations, meaning they are most qualified for identifying shortfalls within the processes. Listening to their ideas whilst creating an environment where they can progress and feel valued goes a long way.
Many e-commerce businesses experience a surge in popularity during different times of the year. Taking a look at your sales analytics from the previous year can help you identify which products sold the most during particular periods.
Gaining insight can help you forecast which items are going to be in high demand ahead of time. This knowledge can then help you to layout your warehouse accordingly, placing popular items in easily accessible areas.
High demand items placed within easy reach of the warehouse means that they can be packaged and shipped as soon as possible, reducing delays in shipment.
Using third party logistics
If it feels as though all your time and effort is being spent on monitoring warehouse operations, it could be worth outsourcing to a third-party logistics (3PL) company.
3PL providers will take charge of every stage of the order fulfilment process from goods in, storage, picking and packing to shipping.
Give your business peace of mind knowing that customer orders will be dealt with accurately and efficiently using automated processes and the latest technology.
Outsourcing to a 3PL provider can help take the stress away from your order fulfilment process, allowing you to focus on other vital areas of your e-commerce business.
If you think your company could benefit from the expertise of a 3PL provider, it could be time to give Pointbid a call on 0121 326 7368. With over 50 years of logistics experience, discover how we could help your business save time and money on your order fulfilment process.