When you're trying to get a better handle on how you stock your warehouse's shelves on an ongoing basis, the number of things you have to consider is massive. For that reason, you need to take a holistic approach to sorting out these issues and make sure you find every area of inefficiency - and address them directly.
These are just a few of the areas you would be wise to consider when trying to make your stocking strategies more effective going forward:
1) Track everything you can
Many logistics operations, of course, already track the items that they stock, but they may not track everything that goes on under their roof, according to Q Stock Inventory. Consequently, it may be a good idea to invest in more technology to track how dollies or forklifts, and even employees, move through your warehouse throughout the day. That data could unlock more efficiency.
2) Get information in real time
When implementing a tracking strategy of the type described above, it's a good idea to make sure that data can be monitored in real time, Q Stock Inventory said. The reason why is simple: When you're examining tracking location in this way, it becomes much easier to see where logjams tend to arise, and then investigate why.
3) Rethink picking and packing locations
For your employees, perhaps the simplest change you can make to encourage greater efficiency is to use real-time tracking data to find better spots for their picking and packing stations, according to Sweet. If you can find an idealized location and move those stations there, being able to shave even 10 seconds off the normal amount of time spent walking between station and shelves will add up quickly and make you more efficient.
4) Institute quality control before sending anything out
One of the biggest hiccups your company likely faces is when orders are sent out incomplete or incorrect, Sweet added. As a result, you might need to be more proactive about quality control and institute a system of checks to ensure your error rate can be cut at least somewhat. Here, too, even small gains will typically translate to big ongoing efficiency improvements.
5) See how much inventory you can reduce
Companies are seemingly always trying to right-size their inventory, and with more tracking data and quality control efforts, that goal becomes easier to accomplish, Sweet further advised. If you can make it a habit to regularly assess how well your inventory flows through your warehouse, you might be able to make stocking easier for all involved.
6) Give employees the training they need
The changes above can be significant, even when they're instituted one at a time, and employees need effective training to make sure they get the new efforts right, according to Wonolo. Reinforcing the habits you want workers to foster with regular sessions is always a good idea.
7) Consistently review your processes
Finally, it's important to make sure your own efforts as managers are ongoing, Wonolo noted. You should make it a point to regularly reconsider how effective your current strategies are and shift them as needed over time.