8 tips for improving warehouse management
What is warehouse management?
Warehouse management is the processes and practices that dictate the day-to-day operations of a warehouse. This includes high-level processes like scheduling labour, organising warehouse space, receiving inventory and fulfilling orders.
Effective warehouse management focuses on keeping costs as low as possible, boosting productivity, and reducing the potential for errors.
Inventory management vs. warehouse management
The main difference between inventory management and warehouse management is that inventory management focuses on product, while warehouse management focuses on operations.
Inventory management involves:
knowing where your inventory is and how much of it you have in stock,
understanding how much inventory you need to order and when,
tracking inventory turnover rates.
Warehouse management, on the other hand, is about optimising warehouse processes. Tracking and organising inventory is part of that, but it extends to other practices that dictate how the entire warehouse operates.
This includes how employees receive and fulfil orders, how many team members you need for each shift, what workplace health and safety practices you have in place to prevent injuries, and more.
The benefits of warehouse management
Strong warehouse management is essential for goods-based businesses to run as efficiently and accurately as possible. With robust warehouse systems in place you can:
Optimise the use of space to store inventory at lower cost.
Build customer loyalty and trust with on-time shipping, accurate orders and items that arrive in perfect condition.
Improve worker safety by reducing preventable accidents that can decrease productivity and be a business liability.
Optimise fulfilment processes to improve speed, quality and productivity.
Strengthen relationships with suppliers and transportation companies.
8 best practices for warehouse management
1. Automate processes when possible
Automation reduces busy work for your team by handling repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Warehouse management automation software can:
provide real-time location information for warehouse equipment
issue alerts when equipment is due for maintenance.
Learn more about how automated warehouse management systems can benefit your business.
2. Implement a tracking system
Tracking systems make it easy to know where your inventory is and how much of it you have. Software for warehouse management often comes with tracking systems so you always know where every item is in real time.
3. Invest in quality equipment and software
Warehouse management becomes much easier, faster and safer with good equipment and software. The right equipment can speed up order picking and packing, and may integrate with warehouse robots that retrieve items for you.
Good warehouse management software will offer recommendations for how to optimise your processes for improved productivity and safety.
4. Maintain safety guidelines
It’s imperative to have well-documented safety guidelines and to train your employees thoroughly. Training should be an ongoing process because workers may forget what they’ve learned.
5. Maximise space
If you’d like to store more inventory without acquiring additional warehouse space, rethink how you’re using your existing space.
Ways to maximise space include:
using vertical height to store your inventory (automated retrieval systems can access items that are out of workers’ reach),
reorganising items on the same shelves to use all available space,
changing your racking system.
6. Monitor energy usage
Warehouses often use a tonne of energy, which can eat into profits. Monitor your energy usage — if your costs are excessive, you might consider hiring an outside firm to conduct an energy audit. Energy auditors can provide recommendations for conserving energy and controlling energy costs.
7. Train employees properly
Warehouse work can be dangerous, so you need to train employees on safety guidelines and develop policies that promote safety. Make sure that all team members know what to do in an emergency, and ensure that everyone is fully qualified to be using the equipment involved in their jobs.
8. Use barcode and radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners
Barcode and radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners are the industry standard in warehouse management. They eliminate the need for time-consuming data entry, instead syncing data to your inventory management system as workers scan products.
Improve warehouse management with MYOB
MYOB Advanced Business is a cloud-based enterprise resource planning system that allows you to manage all aspects of your business – from your purchasing and inventory through to your sales and financials.
Gain the functionality you need to manage your inventory, wholesale and distribution processes across your warehouses. With MYOB Advanced Business you can handle complex supply chains and get real-time access to company data to make the best decisions for your business.
Get in touch to find out more.