Predicting the future trends is important, especially when it comes to analyzing the supply chain. That said, warehousing is an integral part of supply chain management with many industries slowly shifting towards robotics for improving the organizational capabilities of the same. While the inclusion of automation has greatly improved the warehousing options, there are certain areas which need to be prioritized, in order to set up a successful warehouse. That said, industries must be wary of the modern warehousing trends as following them with dedication can certainly give them a competitive advantage over the competitors.
Practical Warehouse Considerations
Before we start discussing about the key focus areas related to warehousing, it is important to enlist the considerations without compromising on the budget.
The first and foremost warehouse consideration would be to facilitate effective and frequent communication with the workers. The management should always be transparent with the employees; thereby creating an environment of openness. This, in turn, involves mentioning the organizational goals, effective warehousing operations and key performance indicators or the KPIs. Transparency is one organizational consideration that improves employee productivity and the turnover.
Another important consideration is to reduce the potential variations associated with shift scheduling, unloading and facility management. Better known as standardization, this approach aims at reducing the errors and additional costs.
A successful warehouse thrives on the five-step approach, involving Definition, Measurement, Analysis, Improvement and Control. The best example of this approach would be DMAIC, the existent Six Sigma technology which aims at offering competitive costs and defect-free performances.
Other warehouse considerations include educating the leadership, creating strong training modules, assessing variations for increasing productivity, organizing team meetings, identifying exact levels of system automation and incorporating the perks of work-output analysis.
Key Areas of Focus
For setting up a successful warehouse, the entire supply chain management system should save a special mention for the labor. Probably the largest warehouse expense, labor— including the likes of third-party logistics must be managed perfectly for reducing the costs and amplifying productivity. The best idea is to integrate a warehouse management system or WMS with labor management, precisely for improving overall performances.
Some of the existing strategies include cross-training employees, using flextime, revising the labor scheduling strategy, monitoring individual productivity, implementing ‘vendor management system’ and rewarding employees based on their performances.
This focus area involves identifying the most yielding aspects of warehouse management and putting them to use. This includes identifying productive employees and segregating them into cross-functional teams for increasing overall productivity. Companies must focus on implementing cross-docking for reducing inventory requirements followed by achieving around 100 percent inventory accuracy under any condition. Operations, is one important focus area that readily optimizes space, processes overall returns and replaces overall checking with auditing.
- Equipment Use
For setting up a successful warehouse, industries must also focus on optimizing equipment usage. This involves standardizing batteries, opting for short term rentals, managing service vendors, using equipment for double shifts and concentrating more on leasing. Most importantly, this focus area also urges an industry to use preventive equipment maintenance for avoiding system failures.
A successful warehouse is impossible to construct unless an efficient WMS is in place. Warehouse management is one technology that helps industries save additional costs while also minimizing the dwell time. Apart from that, WMS makes the best possible use of technology by implementing light picking systems and voice directed picking for reducing human interference. Lastly, interacting and communicating with suppliers via electronic data interface is yet another aspect of an efficient warehouse management system.
- Facilities Management
A successful warehouse is one that has all the facilities and resources in place. This aspect aims at fine-tuning the less prominent aspects of warehouse management. Be it investigating the efficiency of coolers and fans or buying resources in bulk— a successful warehouse is definitely a myth without these management techniques in place.
Warehouse safety is of paramount importance and industries must look to implement strategies for securing there inventory and even the storage facilities. Giving attention to forklift operations, designating traffic pathways and prioritizing storage security are some of the best strategies to use.
If an industry is planning to setup a warehouse, it needs to prioritize organization in the first place. Apart from that, it must incorporate strict vigilance, logical pickup processes, quality control and other important metrics for fine-tuning the existing inventory-specific strategies. However, once the warehouse is up and running, proper focus should be on the safety and security of the same.