Warehouse managers are always looking for ways to optimize their workflows by using innovative technology. While this practice is nothing new, in order to increase productivity, streamline operations, and reduce errors, the time for advanced technology is now.
Common issues that lead to inefficiencies in the warehouse include device availability, stocking and picking optimization, and inventory tracking and placement. If similar problems occur at your workplace, here are five tips to follow for better warehouse optimization.
1. Optimize a Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a powerful tool that manages material handling equipment, collects and stores data, and tracks inventory flow from the time of arrival to the time it ships out. Combined with RFID and barcode scanning, a WMS allows manual entry to be automated and ensures a reduction in error and time spent by employees on manual processes.
It may feel like a burden to implement an entirely new system in your organization at once. But, once a WMS is in place, the immediate impact from the cost and savings associated with the new system are second to none. Many WMS systems can house all the details of a warehouse operation, providing managers with complete visibility over everything from the effectiveness of an employee to inventory and layout. Regardless of what size your organization is, the key to efficient warehouse operations is through optimization.
2. Upgrade to New, Cutting-Edge Equipment
When is the last time you evaluated the type of equipment your company uses in the warehouse? The age and limitations of the current equipment can make all the difference when it comes to performance. Does your current equipment give employees issues, slowing down their productivity and preventing you from achieving ROI goals? Is there any value being added by the outdated equipment, or is more time spent trying to fix it?
After evaluating the equipment and issues that your employees may be experiencing, it could be time to upgrade or even outright replace the outdated hardware. The advantages of new equipment are plentiful, from increased speed and productivity to decreased downtime. If you haven’t, you may want to consider the option of paying for hardware as a monthly subscription rather than purchasing so you never have to worry about having outdated or out-serviced equipment again.
3. Watch Wireless Connectivity
It may seem small or like an afterthought, but how well your wireless network performs could be disrupting your warehouse’s workflow. Your digital products are only as good as your connectivity. Your employees are constantly moving around, and a loss in connectivity could prohibit them from hitting their goals.
A site survey should be done to determine the effectiveness of your wireless network and can be done with the help of heat maps to determine gaps, holes and weak spots and other areas of interference in the workplace. Assessments should be done on an ongoing basis to ensure your equipment and employees can perform at their peak, especially if an implementation of new equipment occurs.
4. Manage Through Omnichannel Capabilities
When it comes to everything happening in your warehouse, operating with an omnichannel strategy provides managers with even more visibility, transparency, and insight into day-to-day operations.
An omnichannel strategy begins with an integrated WMS and allows you to know exactly where orders are, when supplies need to be replaced, and so on. If your warehouse is still operating on a single channel, not only is it impractical but it can also result in lost opportunities on productivity and ROI.
While operating with an omnichannel strategy may seem more complex, remember, the goal here is to still streamline and make processes simpler. Having everything in one place rather than looking through multiple systems to obtain information is much easier.
5. Modernize Your Equipment
Taking advantage of Hardware-as-a-Service (HaaS) is an excellent, affordable option for those who are tired of spending hours on end researching new options and want maintenance and new equipment as needed rolled into one predictable monthly payment.
With HaaS, you give yourself and your team peace of mind knowing that you always have the latest and greatest technology and the benefits that come along with it.
Need more information on HaaS and whether it’s right for your organization? Fill out the form below, and River Capital’s team of experts will be happy to talk through your needs.