With the rapid rise of e-commerce, especially with the Covid-19 outbreak, the demand for warehousing has drastically increased.
Typically, online retailers offer a wider array of products compared to brick and mortar stores, leading to greater storage requirements.
Warehousing plays a crucial part in logistics.
From storing inventory to packaging and distributing products, efficient warehousing is essential to keep the business operations moving smoothly and achieving customer satisfaction.
Managing a warehouse is no easy feat, particularly for a new venture.
Whether you’re a retailer or manufacturing, your warehousing setup is prone to certain mistakes. If not immediately taken care of, these warehousing inefficiencies can end up costing your business a significant amount of revenue and even market share.
In this post, we’re sharing some common warehousing mistakes that every business should avoid.
Take a look.
1. Underestimating Importance of WMS
Solely relying on paperwork to manage the warehouse is no longer a viable option.
Paper systems are difficult to access, update, and give leeway to errors. If you don’t already have a Warehouse Management System, it’s time to invest in one.
Digitizing your warehousing system will ensure efficient, faster, and cost-effective operations. WMS also optimizes storage space, makes inventory traceable, and improves labor utilization.
2. Non-optimal Picking Paths
If employees have to walk from one end of the warehouse to another to fulfill every order, then something is probably wrong with your picking paths.
Non-optimal picking paths will increase turnaround times and may even lead to unnecessary fatigue. You should look into choosing and implementing the right picking methods for your warehouse.
3. Storing Excess Inventory
It may not seem obvious, but excess inventory is disadvantageous for your operations in more ways than one.
Firstly, it takes up storage space that can be utilized for other products. In addition to this, excess inventory can delay other processes such as picking, restocking, etc.
It’s crucial to find suitable software to maintain accurate inventory levels.
4. Poor Layout
Optimizing picking, putting away, stocking, and other processes won’t prove to be as beneficial with a poor warehouse layout.
It’s imperative to carefully design the facility layout to prevent non-essential movement. Involve a warehousing layout expert to design a facility with a smoother flow.
5. Overlooking Equipment Maintenance
From pallet jacks to forklifts and hand trucks, there is a wide array of equipment essential for various warehouse operations. Timely and regularly servicing warehousing equipment is necessary to prevent delays because of breakdowns.
Moreover, equipment maintenance is required to prevent injuries and product damage. Routine servicing also plays a key role in extending the machinery’s lifespan.
6. Using Outdated Tools & Equipment
Regular maintenance and upkeep of equipment will prolong its life but cannot postpone obsolescence forever.
Outdated equipment is going to be a hindrance to your warehousing process. Take a look at the latest technologies and upgrade to better-suited tools and equipment.
7. Neglecting Employee Training
Employee turnover is an issue often faced by warehouses. Employees tend to leave warehousing jobs because of a lack of training and poor working environment.
You should provide employees with proper training and development to help them keep up with changing technologies. Routine training and retraining will help employees prevent injuries, errors, and efficiencies.
8. No Safety Policies
Lack of safety policies can have serious consequences. It can lead to injuries, which will invite lawsuits.
Apart from injuries, working in an unsafe manner can slow down your process and increase labor costs. Put strict safety policies in place to make sure employees are not cutting corners and following ergonomic practices.
9. Inefficient Return Management
Is there no distinct area assigned for returns and dead-stock?
Warehouses should avoid storing dead-stock and returns with regular inventory, which could lead to shipping incorrect or damaged products.
It’s critical to optimize return inventory management to minimize processing costs and increase customer satisfaction.
10. Untidy Premises
A messy facility creates a dangerous working environment for your employees. Workers may injure themselves as well as take longer to complete tasks because of various obstructions in their picking paths.
Employ a housekeeping staff to keep the facility clean and tidy. A well-organized warehouse will improve employee productivity.
11. Overlapping Shipping & Receiving Areas
Are products shipping to Scotland and products coming in from local suppliers in the same area?
An overlapping area of shipping and receiving products will lead to mistakes in product picking and inefficient workflows.
Assign separate docks or areas for shipping and receiving goods to prevent major mishaps.
12. Insecure Access Points
Stolen and misplaced products is a major challenge for warehouses. To begin with, start cycle counting to make sure your inventory doesn’t have any unexplained gaps.
Next, you should limit access to stocks by securing access points using a key card system. It is also helpful to increase managerial visibility on the facility to deter thieves.
13. Inefficient Lighting
Proper warehouse lighting is essential to create a healthy working environment. Inefficient lighting has been shown to increase the number of accidents and adversely impact employee morale.
Make sure your warehousing infrastructure is equipped with efficient lighting to prevent injuries, increase employee productivity, and lower utility costs.
14. Forgetting About Future Needs
As previously mentioned, storage and warehousing needs are constantly increasing for businesses. That’s why it’s important to plan for future business growth and development.
You need to ensure that you’re learning and investing in infrastructure, processes, technologies, and workforce that align with your plans.
15. Lack of Labeling & Signage
Are your employees spending a significant amount of time locating and identifying products?
Lack of labeling and signage could be the reason causing this inefficiency.
Apart from barcodes, make sure your inventory is properly labeled for easy identification. It would also help to put up large signage for different sections that are visible from a distance.
The Bottom Line
Errors in warehousing systems can not only lead to loss of productivity, time, and money but can also cause accidents and increased absenteeism.
Promptly recognizing these shortcomings and tackling them head-on is crucial for an efficient as well as profitable warehousing system.
Hopefully, the aforementioned tips help you identify such problems early on.