When warehouse operations are well structured, costs are kept low, efficiency is high, and customers are happy—but keeping your facility running like a well-oiled machine is easier said than done. The warehouse floor is an unpredictable place, so workflows can take a turn for the worst due to one error or mix-up.
Let’s take a look at some tips from top facility professionals on how to run a successful warehouse.
Tips for Running a Successful Warehouse
Consider Lean Warehouse Management Practices
Implementing lean practices in your warehouse operations reduces operational costs and standardizes workflow. A 5S system, a comprehensive lean methodology, can be used to systemize, clean, organize, and standardize warehouse operations:
- Sort: Sorting your warehouse separates the processes and products you need from the ones that don’t work.
- Straighten: Straightening your facility organizes items and inventory in a way that increases efficiency.
- Shine: Keeping your warehouse shiny and clean with a routine cleaning schedule minimizes waste and prevents accidents.
- Standardize: Creating facility standards results in uniformity and productivity.
- Sustain: Sustaining continuous improvement in your processes, procedures, and operations improves warehouse efficiency.
By applying the 5S lean warehouse management principles to your processes, including receiving, put-away, picking and packing, dispatch, and shipping, you’ll be on the road to running a successful warehouse.
Manage Warehouse Employees Effectively
Another important tip for running a successful warehouse is managing warehouse employees effectively through continuous communication. For example, inbound and outbound freight often results in warehouse slotting system changes, so it’s important to provide your employees in both departments with as much information as possible to ensure successful purchase order completions.
Offer Employee Incentives
Warehouse fulfillment is hard work. Storing and retrieving items and pick-and-pack services are a large part of the warehouse business, so that means running a successful warehouse lies in the hands of motivated employees. Implementing plans for incentive pay or a reward system, especially in the pick-and-pack area, can help improve productivity and workflows.
Improve Warehouse Efficiency With Custom Kitting Strategies
Custom kitting strategies improve warehouse efficiency by grouping and bagging facility components often used together into kits. Custom component kits can help reduce inventory handling time and time-consuming errors and improve storage space and the inventory management process.
Invest in Quality Equipment
Investing in quality industrial equipment, such as forklifts, sweepers and scrubbers, and utility vehicles, is another important tip for running a successful warehouse. It might be enticing to purchase facility equipment at a bargain price, but your employees can’t work efficiently without reliable equipment. Consider how much you’re sacrificing in efficiency and productivity by purchasing outdated machinery that’s no longer functioning at peak performance.
Another tip for running a successful warehouse is maximizing the use of your vertical space with Modula’s vertical warehouse storage systems.
Consider Automation To Improve Warehouse Efficiency
Thanks to their efficiency and productivity improvements in warehouse operations, research shows that 1.2 million robots are expected to be deployed in U.S. manufacturing facilities by 2025. Implementing robotic or automated systems in your facility lowers operating costs, increases production output, minimizes redundant operations, and increases versatility.
Schedule Equipment Maintenance
Scheduling routine equipment maintenance ensures you’re running a successful warehouse that’s always operating at peak performance. Even high-quality material handling equipment can break down if it’s not well-maintained. Keeping your machinery in quality condition with regular maintenance repairs and inspections protects your investment, decreases downtime, and improves warehouse efficiency.
Create a Safety Culture
Developing a warehouse culture where safety is a top priority doesn’t happen overnight—creating a well-prepared safety plan is crucial to prevent accidents and injuries. You can start creating a safety culture at your warehouse by forming a committee that aims to develop employee safety best practices. Your facility managers can also help create a safety culture by leading by example, abiding by safety policies and best practices and reinforcing them on the floor.
Consider Automated Guided Vehicles To Improve Warehouse Efficiency
Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) improve warehouse efficiency in several ways. AGVs increase accuracy and improve efficiency by taking human error out of the equation during the picking process, ensuring crucial orders are filled with the right product. AGVs are also an ideal tool for scaling your warehouse operations. As the size of your operation goes up, you can scale your processes accordingly, mitigate potential issues, and expand comfortably.
Keep Warehouse Floors Clean and Clear
When excess inventory and other facility components are out of place, your warehouse efficiency and productivity suffers. To ensure you’re running a successful warehouse with clear aisles and clean work areas, create a weekly cleaning schedule so excess materials and other warehouse components are kept in their proper place. It’s also important to identify a designated location for damaged or returned goods. Part of keeping your facility floors clean and clear to improve warehouse efficiency also includes creating signs that indicate where items belong. That way, new employees can follow directions without interrupting busy coworkers.
Use a Management System To Improve Warehouse Efficiency
The right Warehouse Management System (WMS) platform can make all the difference for your facility’s performance. Many WMS platforms can notify you of errors, identify accuracy issues, and monitor performance using key performance indicators (KPIs) that indicate progress for various employees.
Running a Successful Warehouse Is Seamless With Southwest
At Southwest Warehouse Solutions, we know what it takes to run a successful warehouse—there’s no secret formula, shortcut, or magic fix.
The best way to run a successful warehouse is to work with the right products. And no warehouse solutions provider has access to better manufacturers than us. Our goal is to improve your warehouse efficiency with exceptional materials and equipment. You need someone that understands running a successful warehouse starts with the right machinery and materials—you need SWWS. Contact us today to learn more about partnering with us to improve your warehouse efficiency.