If you're just looking for a few tips on how to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, have a look at this handy infographic we have put together to point you in the right direction.
1. Profile your order
By analysing the orders you receive throughout the course of a year, you can identify trends that will help you to position your stock more effectively. For example: if certain SKUs are more popular in the spring, you can move these to a more easily accessible location in your warehouse then swap them with other stock once summer arrives.
2. Analyse current picking procedures
Whether you use single order, multi-order, or batch picking with single pickers, or some form of zone picking, it is crucial to match your picking methodology to your organisation (and the industry in which it operates) if you wish to maximise productivity in the warehouse.
3. Utilise warehouse management software
Software that collates your orders by pick paths, lines, zones and level of picking difficulty can make a huge difference to the average time it takes your warehouse team to get new jobs out of the door. By Sequencing your orders in a way that makes them easier to pick, it will make life much easier for your pickers and packers.
4. Creating a warehouse within a warehouse
By grouping together the 20% of SKUs that make up the bulk of your orders, you can increase picking productivity even further. However, if you are selling small quantities of a wide range of products, this tactic may not work for your company.
5. Analyse Warehouse Storage Equipment Usage
You can better use of the storage space at your disposal by placing slow-moving stock in bin shelving and more popular SKUs in carton and pallet flow areas.
6. Use just a few sizes of shipping cartons
The fewer types and sizes of shipping cartons your packers have to choose from when preparing orders for dispatch, the faster they will be able to work. Such an approach will also help to reduce the cost of packing materials and freight charges.
7. Utilise 'Wheelhouse Zones' in your warehouse
Another way to speed up the picking process is to put your fastest-moving SKUs in the waist-to-shoulder section of your shelving and other storage units. This should also help to reduce the incidence of repetitive-strain type injuries suffered by members of your picking team.
8. Consider Installing an automated System
When you think about the fact that your pickers probably spend around 60% of their time at work moving stock around the warehouse, and automated solution, such as a conveyor system, could make a lot of sense.
9. Investigate new technology
Well established companies that use older technology should take a look at radio frequency scanners and tags, bar code systems, voice-activated solutions and other modern warehouse equipment. Any or all of these could improve picking efficiency dramatically. Our warehouse management system is currently in place in leading e-commerce warehouses around Europe.
10. Devise and implement and equitable Incentive programme for pickers
By offering your pickers generous bonuses base on their actual performance over time, you can encourage greater accuracy, productivity and efficiency across the whole team. The beauty of such a programme is that if it does not have the desired effect, it will not cost your company a penny.