With the warehouse representing the last link of the supply chain, it’s vital to maintain a structured, error-free environment in the most efficient manner possible. As a company that specializes in streamlining warehouse operations for organizations across the country, Apptricity has compiled five of the most common problems warehouses experience, all of which can be easily eliminated by better processes or automation.
- Inventory accuracy – Without an automated system, companies tend not to know what they have on hand, making inaccuracies a common problem. Inadequate visibility frequently causes excess/obsolete inventory to build up or, perhaps worse, creates demand for extra stock in case of shortage. Excess inventory can cause lack of cash flow, warehouse space issues, higher cost to house extra materials and deficient customer service. However, inventory shortage tends to be the greater problem as it can lead to orders being unfulfilled.
- Inventory location – Lack of inventory oversight can cause a buildup of inefficiencies within the warehouse that slows operations and increases costs. Without adequate insight into location, pickers take longer to find the items to ship, which slows the loading process and creates a backup in labor allocation and dock door scheduling.
- Space utilization/warehouse layout – If you don’t optimize storage systems, racking and pallet patterns, the amount of space necessary to house inventory increases. Inefficient warehouse layouts also cause unnecessary labor. For instance, if you have high selling inventory in the back of the facility, you’ll drive further more often than would be required if the warehouse layout was better optimized.
- Redundant processes – It’s common for warehouse workers to pass a pick ticket or other documentation through multiple hands. The picker will pass it to the checker, who will pass it to the stager, who will pass it to the loader, and so on. Using bar code technology, which is frequently found in today’s automated warehouse systems, eliminates multiple touches.
- Picking optimization – For warehouses that still have manual processes in place, there tends to be no common route taken to pick items for shipment, which adds unnecessary time to the process. With system directed pick/putaway, the routing is easily automated, reducing wear and tear on both your equipment and your labor force
Today, an agile supply chain is more vital to companies than ever, which is why more warehouses are turning to automation to help smooth operations. It all comes down to efficiency and beating the competition every step of the way, from supply chain to sales. If your warehouse isn’t keeping up with the pace of your business, feel free to contact Apptricity for ideas on how to improve your supply chain processes with warehouse management software.