What is standardized warehousing, and is it important?
Anyone who works in warehousing understands the importance of maintaining law and order on the floor. Without proper management, products can go missing, orders can be duplicated by mistake and shipments can be delayed. All of these mishaps can end up being very costly, so it's vital that warehouse managers do everything in their power to prevent them. Enter standardized warehousing. What is it? Why is it important? How do you achieve it? Read on to find out.
The basic principles
As you might guess by the name, standardized warehousing is an organizational method that promotes efficiency and accuracy. As The Statesman explains, in a nutshell, standardized warehousing entails organizing your entire warehouse inventory and mapping out every standard operating procedure in a formal, uniform way.
It also involves drawing up damage control measures for every conceivable outcome, should something go awry. In this way, nothing is done in an ad hoc manner or left to chance. Additionally, standardized warehousing systems note the need to record and document every step of the logistics processes you run, from placing product orders to final delivery sign off.
What's in it for me?
Standardizing your business operations requires a huge initial investment in terms of time and energy. You may believe that the way you manage your warehouse doesn't need any changes. However, by mapping out workflow minutiae, you're likely to save time and money that can be redirected toward mission-critical activities. Here are some of the ways standardized warehousing can benefit you:
- Less time wasted drawing up employee shifts and rotations.
- Greater accuracy as every worker knows exactly what they need to do, how to do it and by when it must be done.
- Reduced product loss and, therefore, minimized re-ordering costs.
- Speedier delivery and turnaround with decreased waiting times.
- Affordable transport costs as goods can be located easily and shipped in bulk.
- Increased available floor space (which is vital with the current high industrial real estate prices).
- Easy and efficient new hire onboarding as all necessary documents are readily available.
Standardizing your warehouse
Naturally, all of the above outcomes can lead to improved customer satisfaction (whether you sell to the public or retailers) and enhanced profit margins. What steps do you need to take to achieve this? Here are a few tips:
- As ElevatIQ explains, you need to understand your locations within the warehouse. Where are the products stored? Where do you keep equipment? Which areas are dedicated to which activities?
- Map out your process and product life cycle in full. At what stage of the supply chain do you come in? What role does your company play in a product's journey from manufacturing to delivery?
- Ascertain your process ergonomics. Is equipment within workers' reach? Are there any physical obstacles that may hamper operational efficiency?
By answering these questions and stipulating rules relevant to each topic in readily available documents, you can embark on your journey to standardized warehousing.