Taking the stress out of warehouse management: four top tips
Like any other work environment, the warehouse can be a source of great stress to workers and managers alike. But there are ways to take the stress out of warehouse management and avoid a lot of the problems that seem to be inherent in managing a warehouse. Let’s look at four of these stress relievers and see how they can help.
1. Reorder points
What is quite possibly the biggest worry when it comes to warehouse management?
Arguably, it is the fear of not having enough products on hand to meet demand. It is an awful feeling when an order comes in and you don’t have the right items in stock to quickly fulfill it. There are workarounds, like drop shipping, but that just adds stress and complications to the order fulfillment process. In addition, there is the subtler (but equally stressful) problem of overstocking on products. This can lead to all sorts of problems from higher carrying costs to less space on the shelves for more important products. It can also cause perishable products to go past their expiration date before they can be sold, leading to further losses.
The way to prevent both of these problems is to use reorder points. You can set a minimum quantity at which you need to reorder more of an item to prevent shortages. You can also set a maximum quantity and a reorder quantity so that you won’t accidentally order too many and wind up with a giant overstock. To help you set the correct quantities for each of these and to receive an email or text message informing you when it is time to reorder, you can use a warehouse management solution. This can help you calculate everything based on your order and sales history.
2. Restructure your warehouse
When it comes time to put away newly received items or to pick items in the warehouse for a sales order, it can be difficult if the warehouse is not well organized. If a warehouse worker doesn’t know which aisle, shelf, and bin an item should be on he can be forced to spend a lot of time just tracking it down. When you look at your warehouse, you shouldn’t feel intimidated by its immensity, but you should be able to rest assured that you know where to go to find exactly what you’re looking for.
If this is not the case, you need to start organizing your warehouse. Assign a location and sub-location to every part and product in your inventory. If you have already assigned locations to everything in your warehouse, but you still find that picks are taking longer than they should or things are falling through the cracks, consider another option. Use a warehouse management solution to spot trends so that items you normally order or sell together get placed next to each other in the warehouse. This can significantly speed up a number of business processes and give you the peace of mind that everything is working as smoothly as possible.
3. Empower your employees
There never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything you want to do. Employees often feel pressured to get more done, and if they don’t have the tools or training then that can be a recipe for disaster. Either they will stretch themselves thin to do more and end up with substandard results or they will give up and cave under all of the stress to live up to unrealistic expectations.
Once again, a warehouse management solution that is accessible on mobile devices can solve this problem. Giving warehouse workers dedicated barcode scanners or better yet, allowing them to use their own smartphones or tablets to perform cycle counts, scan items in and out, and more is a great way to boost their confidence and productivity. Your employees can get more things done with their time when it takes just a few minutes to perform complex jobs that used to take an hour or more. As their confidence increases, they may even feel motivated to take the initiative and try new things to boost their productivity even further.
4. Use a WMS as a stress-reliever
If you’d like to take the stress out of warehouse management while also putting more effort into it, you can do it with a good warehouse management solution. Set up automatic reorder points, re-organize your warehouse to maximize efficiency, and empower your employees to use the right tools to the job. These are quite possibly the most effective stress relievers you’ll find in the warehouse.
Featured white papers
4 types of warehouse management software: Which is best for you?
In this article, we discuss the 4 different kinds of WMS, and help you choose the best one for yo...
Mission-critical features of food lot traceability software
What features of food traceability software will help you during a food recall
ERP vs WMS: What’s the best software for your business?
Check out our guide to deciding if ERP or WMS is right for you