- Start a Business
- Business Ideas
- Business Financing
- Marketing & More
- About Idea Cafe
How to Make Your Warehouse and Shipping Processes a Piece of Cake
by Eileen OShanassy Thu, 11/10/2016 - 10:47
Whether it is fulfilling orders from customers or distributing needed parts to employees, for any company that relies on material distribution, having control of the warehouse and shipping process is a crucial factor in its success. Fortunately for those companies, setting things up properly can make instituting processes and procedures for a better warehouse system a much simpler matter.
Organize the Warehouse
The key to an efficient warehouse is managing the traffic flow within. There are two mistakes that need to be avoided to achieve maximum efficiency. The first mistake is grouping items entirely by type instead of by association. For example, a company that distributes plumbing supplies might be tempted to have a section of the warehouse for pipes, another for fittings, and yet another for solvents and adhesives. This type of organization is common but can get cluttered quickly. A more efficient method of stocking items is by association. In other words, have the pipes next to the things that are typically ordered with them. By having a certain type of pipe right next to its fittings and solvents, a picker can get most or all an order in one stop. Time spent traipsing around the warehouse is time wasted.
For companies that deal with both individual parts and pallet shipping, keeping these two separate is important. A common mistake is storing pallets of items right next to individual pieces of the same items. In addition to the safety concerns, it is simply inefficient to have forklifts be forced to stop and wait for pickers and stockers to get out of the way constantly. A better approach is to treat the operation as two separate warehouses in the same building. The section for pallet handling should be set up with a clear path from the loading bay doors to the area the pallets are stored. If pallets are broken down to individual parts and stored in the other section of the warehouse, an area between the two sections should be set aside so the process takes place smoothly.
Set up a Good Database
Having quick access to inventory and shipment information is an enormous time saver. First, it saves man hours and gives customers a better experience when a client contact can confirm the availability of items without being forced to walk to the section where those items are stored and physically look. Having it take nearly as long to check an item's availability as it takes to pick it for shipment is a huge time waster. Second, the most efficient warehouse imaginable will still have people calling to check on shipments. Being able to access tracking numbers and shipment contents instantly saves time on every inquiry. Invest in a good database system and stick to it. Only then will things fall into place easily for better organization.
Set Up for Safety
Don’t forget to protect your warehouse and shipping processes properly. This might mean investing in insurance on the warehouse building itself, the products, and even the trucks and suppliers. Getting stranded in an emergency means a lot of lost profits and can spell disaster for any company. Lawyers for Trucks Accidents & Collisions recommend investing in good worker’s compensation and insurance as well. Your products and employees deserve the right protection to make working a bit easier on everyone.
Organizing a warehouse to maximize traffic flow efficiency and establishing a good database to keep track of everything that enters or leaves, enables a company to institute any specific processes, secure in the knowledge that those processes will be carried out as efficiently and profitably as possible.
About the author
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.