Beginner’s Guide to Warehouse Management: Defining Best Practices

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Warehouse Management

| Written by: MarkSmith

Certain fundamentals can help ensure optimal management of today’s warehouses. Here we examine three areas that will maximize the efficiency of your high-density storage and material handling solutions.

Fully Utilizing Automation

Warehouse automation – such as vertical lift modules (VLMs), vertical carousels, horizontal carousels and other material handling equipment – is perhaps the best way to increase both speed and accuracy without increasing costs in the long term. A reality of innovation and technology is that machines tend to go down in relative price over the years, while the cost of labor steadily rises. Given that fact, the return on investment for a high-output piece of equipment is favorable.

A second plus of automating your warehouse is that you’ll have a better handle on your inventory, as electronic sensors permit real-time tracking of all your SKUs.

And thirdly, warehouse automation will help create better space efficiency, which definitely is a boon to a business that is bursting at the seams.

Frequent Slotting

It is best to slot at least quarterly, if not more often.

Write a list indicating how frequently each SKU is picked, what size it is and how much it weighs. Use this data to decide where to store items (and don’t forget to store items that typically ship together closer together).

Good slotting can translate into less time spent picking, staging and loading, which means your handling costs will be less because of the increased efficiency.

And keep in mind that a VLM present key slotting advantages: Your employees will pick even faster and more accurately.

A Robust Warehouse Management System

A robust warehouse management system (WMS) will help you maximize control while increasing efficiency. The WMS achieves this by optimizing order management and providing complete item traceability.

Working in conjunction with your enterprise resource planning software (ERP) and warehouse control system (WCS), the WMS will enhance your facility’s overall performance by constantly searching for open locations in order to maximize space, automating repetitive tasks and procedures and efficiently planning material movements.

What’s more, the WMS will help to limit replenishment errors and picking mistakes, and significantly shrink the amount of paperwork required. Contact Outsource today to learn more about our material handling solutions.