The efficiency of a warehouse is dependent on the efficiency of the pick and pack process which underpins it. An efficient pick and pack process can mean lowered costs and greater throughput, and ultimately a better service for your customers.
Design for efficiency
The layout and physical structure of your warehouse should be arranged with the pick and pack process in mind. Items which are regularly sold should be placed near to the packing stations, so as to reduce the time taken to put common orders together. At the same time, items which are regularly bought together should be placed next to one another.
By taking stock of your data, you’ll be able to effectively optimise the storage of every item. In the best performing warehouses, this duty is actually handed over to an artificial intelligence.
The location of every item in the warehouse should be logged in an intuitive filing system, so that your staff will be able to easily locate them. This will cut down on picking time, and lead to fewer errors.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Physical clutter and dirty, poorly maintained shelves and floors don’t just look unsightly – they can also cause health and safety problems, and get in the way of a swift picking process. A lack of basic maintenance can also have a psychological effect on the workforce: after all, if the premises aren’t being kept to a high standard, then why should the workers perform to a high standard?
Get the right Courier
Without the right courier to get orders to their destination, even the most well-designed warehousing process can produce bad results. In this sense, the courier should be thought of as an extension of the warehouse itself. Identifying a quality courier is often a matter of choosing the right online comparison service.
Warehouse Management System
An effective warehouse management system is an indispensable component of any good warehouse. Every pick should follow a route that’s calculated in advance. This will eliminate doubling back.
The stock level of every item should also be monitored through the WMS; this will allow shortages to be quickly identified. Where replacement stock can be brought in, it should be; where there’s a shortage, the customer can be notified before they place the order. Managing expectations in this way is critical to ensuring that everyone who places an order has a positive experience.
Don’t forget the Human Element
The introduction of computers into the warehouse has lead to absolutely enormous efficiency savings. But computer’s aren’t faultless. Be sure that your human staff aren’t simply blindly following the orders given to them by a machine. A human should ideally double-check each order to ensure that it’s accurate before it goes out to ship. This will reduce the rate at which orders are returned.