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The most significant aspects taken into account for efficient warehouse management are accuracy, cost control, efficiency, safety, and security. However, efficient warehouse management is quite challenging owing to the complexity of underlying processes that are associated with the said aspects. They will need to tackle a lot of problems while figuring out the optimal way to maximize performance. Balancing trade-offs under uncertain circumstances is critical.
This article explores common warehouse management problems, and how they can be resolved.
The nature of warehousing and current warehouse practices may require employees to handle a single product several times a day. This can be categorized as a redundant process, as can the process where workers pass the same ticket to many people.
Not all redundant processes are unnecessary. However, some unnecessary ones consume a lot of time and increase the labor costs. Using barcode and automation technologies eliminate redundant processes and facilitate optimal resource utilization.
Poor infrastructure and layout
Inadequate storage capacity and improper use of storage space available are common problems in warehouses. The reason why they exist can be attributed to poor layout of the warehouse facility. One of the consequences of poor warehouse infrastructure and layout is a potential negative impact on profits.
An optimal layout of the warehouse would take into account both the floor space and the vertical space. It maximizes efficient use of labor and equipment, ensures better accessibility to and security of items. Some warehouses use forklifts. With a proper layout, using forklifts allows for a setup that maximizes both vertical and horizontal space. In such an optimal warehouse setting, the highest-selling inventory should be the most easily accessible.
Constantly changing demands are often the biggest challenge for warehouse managers. It is evident from the consequences of a recent global financial crisis where many warehouses across the globe faced major cost problems due to increased inventory levels though many industries weren’t affected. They need to be ready to deal with uncertain conditions brought forth by external forces.
Managing such demand changes requires accurate and timely industry-relevant information on retailing and manufacturing. Any information gap can affect the distributor’s ability to observe and respond to changes effectively. Knowing the right kind of information at the right time can help with planning and forecasting demand.
The items in the warehouse can also be rearranged to match changes, which also minimizes negative impacts of demand changes. For instance, the items can be positioned at the front of the picking aisle when seasonal demand is high. Efficient warehouse picking systems can make the picking operations easier as well in such a layout. However, countering demand changes is not about efficient picking operations and a good layout alone. Proper transportation management and strategic sourcing of transportation services can also help, in addition to granting long-term benefits for the warehouse.
The significance of handling inventory in warehouses is obvious. Inaccurate and inefficient handling of inventory would of course give rise to quite a lot of problems. Inventory inaccuracy for instance might lead to obsolete inventory buildups or incorrect stock levels.
Inaccurate information also causes picking problems. Even an efficient warehouse picking solution wouldn’t be effective in such scenarios. Collectively, the issues would end up increasing expenses, and reducing revenue and productivity.
Automated systems today can provide accurate, real-time information about stock levels. It streamlines inventory management, which is in fact a critical success factor. Similarly, most modern warehouse technologies bring a lot of value to the warehouse. To survive in the increasingly dynamic environments in the global supply chain, a planned approach is required. Managers should monitor and track such changes, and adopt inexpensive yet responsive solutions to tackle them.
One such mobility solution called iActo can transform warehouse picking operations, making things much easier for pickers. There are solutions that can tackle pretty much every challenge in every critical process of warehouse management. Then there are those that can streamline operations thus improving productivity considerably. The key is to figure out the right approach to leveraging these technologies for effective warehouse management.