Warehouse logistics: Strategies to streamline operations
What is warehouse logistics?
Warehouse logistics covers the people, processes and programs needed to manage products from their entry into the warehouse until they leave.
A warehouse logistics plan addresses everything from shipping and receiving to inventory control and the selection of warehousing software. Prioritising warehouse logistics enables a more efficient supply chain and a better customer experience.
Benefits of warehouse logistics
By looking at how your warehouse operates and optimising it to improve efficiency, you can:
Enhance customer satisfaction
Improve customer satisfaction with timely order fulfilment, accurate order tracking from receipt to shipment, and efficient returns management.
Ensure accurate inventory levels
Knowing exactly how much inventory you have is essential to avoiding stock-outs or overstocking and carrying unnecessary costs.
Warehouse logistics software allows you to set up automatic reorders when your inventory drops below your threshold amount, helping you have the stock on hand to fulfil customer orders.
Optimise your floor plan to hold more stock and inventory without requiring more warehouse space.
Save time and money
How to improve warehouse logistics
Use the lean method
The lean method — which auto-manufacturer Toyota implemented in the 1930s — is a system that focuses on streamlining operations by minimising waste. It targets the following areas:
Defects often require manufacturers to discard products, resulting in lost time and money. To prevent this, they tackle the root causes of defects and invest in quality monitoring.
Excess inventory ties up capital, wastes space and requires additional labour for inventory management. Reduce inventory carrying costs by creating accurate forecasts and implementing a just-in-time (JIT) system.
Excessive movement in a warehouse creates inefficiency and increases labour costs. Reduce unnecessary to-ing and fro-ing in the warehouse by improving its layout, using automation where possible, and training employees on the most efficient work practices.
4. Over production
Producing more than what’s needed wastes resources, increases labour costs, and ties up capital. To prevent overproduction and reduce operating costs, you can:
adjust production schedules to meet customer demand
track inventory levels
use predictive analytics and forecasting tools.
5. Over processing
Over processing occurs when you do more work than is necessary. This can include:
adding extra product features that customers don’t want
using a more expensive material than necessary.
Over processing is often the result of incorrect specifications and a lack of standard processes. To prevent over processing, use quality control methods, such as the 5S system, which we'll discuss later.
Inefficient transportation of parts and finished goods can cause delays and increase costs. To reduce transportation waste, you can:
optimise the warehouse layout
shorten the distance between products and processes.
Waiting occurs when employees are idle or waiting for machines or materials. To reduce wait times, create efficient workflows and identify bottlenecks. You can also use warehouse management software to track the progress of goods from production to delivery.
For employees to perform efficiently, they need the proper training and tools. Poor training can lead to mistakes, accidents and decreased productivity. To develop employee skills, provide regular training on safety procedures, processes and how to use warehouse software.
Follow the “5S” system
The 5S system, part of the lean method, helps declutter work areas and make operations more efficient. It consists of 5 steps:
Separate warehouse items and discard or store anything that you don’t need. Not only will this declutter the area, but it'll also help you identify any defective or expired products.
Arrange items in an order that's easy to understand and use, allowing employees to identify and access what they need quickly.
Keep work areas clean and maintain machines to prevent breakdowns or accidents.
Maintain the changes you made and perform regular audits to ensure you’re following standards.
The future of warehouse logistics
Technology continues to revolutionise the way warehouses operate.
Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) have made it possible to do more work with fewer people. And industry experts expect the warehouse logistics automation market to continue to grow strongly.
Robotic technology is, for example, revolutionising warehouses by:
automating dangerous, labour-intensive or tedious tasks
detecting errors and anomalies
moving items to another location
reducing manual labour.
Innovations in warehouse automation help reduce costs and improve efficiency.
Improve your warehouse logistics with MYOB
With MYOB’s inventory management software, you can:
get control of your stock
automate inventory tracking
set re-order points
analyse data on your stock levels and
gain insights into how you can optimise your warehouse.
With more manual tasks automated, your business can become more efficient and productive. At MYOB, we have you covered.