Warehouse best practices pdf

To get the most out of the operation, a number of best practices can be adopted to improve productivity and overall customer satisfaction. Although best practices vary from industry to industry and by the products shipped there are a number of best practices that can be applied to most companies. When considering the level of effort involved in warehouse operations, the greatest expenditure of effort is in the picking process.

To gain efficiencies in picking the labor time to pick orders needs to be reduced and this can be achieved in a number of ways. As you'll see, while technology can make a positive difference, there's no substitute for careful time-tracking, physical organization of space, and willingness to spend money where it's needed to improve efficiency.

Companies with the most efficient warehouses have the most frequently picked items closest to the shipping areas to minimize picking time. These companies achieve their competitive advantage by constantly reviewing their sales data to ensure that the items are stored close to the shipping area are still the most frequently picked.

Warehouse layout is also important in achieving greater efficiencies. Minimizing travel time between picking locations can greatly improve productivity. However, to achieve this increase in efficiency, companies must develop processes to monitor picking travel times and storage locations regularly. Warehouse operations that still use hard copy pick tickets find that it is not very efficient and prone to human errors.

In addition to hand-held RF readers and printers, companies are introducing pick-to-light and voice recognition technology. In a pick-to-light system, an operator will scan a bar-coded label attached to a box. A digital display located in front of the picking bin will inform the operator of the item and quantity that they need to pick. By introducing this system, companies can gain significant efficiencies as it is paperless and eliminates the errors caused by pick tickets.

Voice picking systems inform the operator of pick instructions through a headset. The system allows operators to perform pick operations without looking at a computer screen or deal with paper pick tickets. Many world-class warehouse operations have adopted voice picking to complement the pick-to-light systems in place for their fast-moving products. By Full Bio Follow Twitter. Martin Murray is a former writer for The Balance Small Business, and the author of eight books on supply chain management and enterprise resource planning.

Read The Balance's editorial policies. Continue Reading.With the ever-increasing pressure for rapid order fulfillment expanding, there is a constant need to streamline, improve and reassess existing warehouse operations practices.

There have been many recent advancements in picking technologybut one of the often-overlooked areas of improvement is replenishment. In any warehouse, it is important to align inventory replenishment with your picking methods and workflows.

There are a number of replenishment methods to choose from:. Some warehouses rely on a combination of replenishment methods, either for different product lines or during peak demand periods. The proper configuration of a Warehouse Management System WMS helps to maintain a constant and steady flow of inventory. It is important to have a defined process for handling issues with inventory availability during picking.

What is Logistics Management? Definition & Importance in Supply Chain - AIMS Lecture

For example, if an item is not present at the defined location, the picker should move the in-process carton to a resolution area and continue on to the next job. With the information provided for the missing item sa designated resolution specialist can verify the status of the pick location, run a cycle count and arrange for immediate replenishment. Running this process in parallel to picking tasks allows for resolution without causing significant delays to overall order fulfillment activity.

If there is inventory with known backorders present and a clear demand for upcoming picks, it may be most effective to replenish that inventory directly from the receiving dock to forward pick locations.

This can help to reduce any unnecessary storage given that the demand is verified, and it also eliminates the need to replenish the inventory again later. When replenishing directly from receiving, selecting the appropriate forward pick location based on forecasted volume is key.

Picking and replenishment are closely linked and any issues during the picking process can have negative impacts on the ability to replenish effectively.

Using automation wherever possible can reduce order errors and help to eliminate future replenishment headaches. Automation technologies such as sensors and robotics can enhance picking accuracy and direct replenishment activities based on reliable signals, not guesswork.

One innovation in picking automation, collaborative mobile robotscan solve many replenishment challenges by interleaving picking and re-stocking activities in the same workflow. These systems leverage AI to guide warehouse associates during picking and other tasks, keeping associates on-task while automatically selecting the most efficient picking routes and guiding associates through the picking process to reduce errors.

Replenishment remains an important factor in differentiating warehouse operations as it sets the pace for world-class efficiency and customer experience. Warehouse operators who make smart use of tools and technologies to reduce errors and optimize processes are best-equipped to meet — and exceed — customer expectations.

The benefits of going …. Technology can have a significant impact on supply chains, but supply chain digitization still lags behind digitization of other areas …. Select the right replenishment method for your needs In any warehouse, it is important to align inventory replenishment with your picking methods and workflows. There are a number of replenishment methods to choose from: Day or wave demand replenishment: With day or wave demand replenishment, only the stock needed for the day or wave is moved to forward pick locations.

This can be a useful option for warehouses with small pick faces or slow-moving SKUs. Top-off or lean time replenishment: With top-off replenishment or lean time replenishment, each fixed location is filled to capacity during down time.

This works well for warehouses with short picking windows, often the case for those with high-demand, fast-moving SKUs. Opportunistic replenishment: With opportunistic replenishment, the amount of inventory needed for two to four weeks based on demand forecast is moved to picking locations. The goal of opportunistic replenishment is to increase productivity by minimizing the number of trips to the reserve. Opportunistic replenishment relies on accurate forecasting.

Have a plan for emergency replenishment needs It is important to have a defined process for handling issues with inventory availability during picking.By eliminating paperwork and relying on mobile powered carts, companies can effectively boost dock-to-stock cycle time, eliminate improperly labeled products, and minimize inaccurate inventories.

Read More. Pushed to do more with less, and to keep workers as productive as possible in the midst of a labor crunch, managers in manufacturing need state of the art tools that help them improve processes while also minimizing errors and ensuring high levels of quality.

Mobile POS technologies are transforming the brick-and-mortar retail. Transactions and processes once tethered to fixed cash registers at the front of a store are being shifted to product aisles and outdoor venues. Get it Now. With thousands of installations worldwide, Mobile Workstations and Portable Power Systems are proven to increase productivity in a wide variety of workplaces.

As a business owner, you want to make sure that your operations run as smoothly as possible so that you can be as successful as possible. However, when it comes to running a warehouse, many times there are issues that arise that could otherwise be prevented if the operational side of things was more streamlined and productive. To help you achieve success, we want to provide you with a list of best practices that will ensure that you mitigate any problems before they can derail your operations.

While this is not a complete list of actionable items, it should give you a great idea of where you can make the most improvements to turn your warehouse into a thriving business. This is only compounded if you have your staff enter numbers manually into a system.

Even if you are technically automated on the back end, your data collection should be automated so as to remove the possibility of error as well as cut down on your time. Utilize systems like RFID tags and scanners so that you never have to worry about someone misentering in a product label or number. Instead, make your system much more accessible so that staff, supervisors, and managers are all looking at it and can ensure that things are running smoothly.

The best thing to do is create a comprehensive back of house system that incorporates your information and provides real-time analysis. This will also help you identify weak points in your operations and help you streamline the process. This will always create backups down the line that could have even more dire consequences later on.

Because the process for returning products and inventory can be complicated, you want to implement a system that makes everything much more efficient. You should be able to handle returns without bogging down your regular duties.Warehouse inventory management may seem like a relatively simple process on the surface. In reality, managing warehouse inventory is a far more complex undertaking, so much so that various schools of thought have formed around the best approach to effective inventory control, resulting in a few well-established methodologies that provide a framework for inventory control in the warehouse and other settings.

Beyond these frameworks, there are many other considerations. Should you use a warehouse inventory management software application? What about warehouse inventory management mobile apps? On top of these critical decisions, there are handheld scanning devices to consider, metrics to track to maximize productivity and profitability, and much more.

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Table of Contents:. Efficient warehouse inventory management relies on a clear, established set of standards and procedures that ensure consistency. The right warehouse inventory management solution depends, of course, on several factors, most importantly your business model.

Additionally, some strategies for inventory management are complimentary and can be used alongside other approaches, while others stand on their own. Check out these 10 resources for more insights on the various methodologies for warehouse inventory management and how to choose the right methodology for your business:. Along with broad inventory management methodologies, there are dozens of inventory management strategies that focus on optimizing a specific facet of operations.

For example, forecasting is a widely used strategy for optimizing inventory and space utilization while maximizing profitability. For more information about warehouse inventory management best practices and how you can put them to use today to gain better control over your inventory, check out the 14 resources below:. In addition to following best practices, there are important metrics that can aid warehouses in staying on track and optimizing business operations.

Want to learn more about the most important metrics you should be tracking to keep tabs on warehouse inventory? These 12 resources break down the most important metrics to measure:. Warehouse leaders increasingly turn to sophisticated software applications to manage inventory.

Cloud-based systems can connect with apps discussed below and scanning devices for a seamless, real-time flow of data throughout the organization. Warehouses have become fast-paced, bustling business atmospheres with a constant flow of inventory in and out of the facility, making the real-time availability of accurate data an important component in effective inventory management.

Choosing the right warehouse inventory management software can seem like a daunting task, but these 13 resources will guide you to the right choice:. Often, the most efficient warehouses make use of a combination of tools including barcode scanners, software applications, and mobile apps that work seamlessly together to facilitate the real-time flow of information.

Mobility is a hot topic among many industries, and warehouses are no exception. But choosing the right apps that integrate seamlessly with your software applications is the best way to avoid technical hangups that can hinder productivity. To learn more about how to use mobile apps to boost productivity and improve inventory management and compare the top warehouse inventory management apps for Android and iOS devices, check out these 10 resources:.

No warehouse inventory management system is complete without barcode scanning devices. Many warehouses make use of handheld scanning devices that enable workers to quickly and easily scan racks and shelves to reduce picking and stocking time without being limited by the length of a cord. Of course, there are tradeoffs for wireless and wired handheld scanners, so the right scanning devices depends on your specific applications and business cases.

The following 10 resources offer valuable insights on how to choose the right barcode scanners for your warehouse:. Technology has made great strides in the warehousing field, providing valuable tools and systems to streamline warehouse operations, improve efficiency and accuracy. In fact, low- and no-tech solutions are sometimes more suitable for specific business uses.

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Check out the following 11 resources for guidance on choosing the right barcode labels, how label and signage solutions can improve efficiency and simplify inventory management, and other low-tech solutions for improving operations:. More about Asset Tracking from Camcode:. Your email address will not be published.Federal government websites often end in.

The site is secure. The U. Government Accountability Office GAO has identified real property management as a high-risk area due to long-standing problems. A November GAO report found that the federal real property database FRPP contains inconsistent warehouse data and agencies reported a wide range of challenges in acquiring, managing, and disposing of warehouse space. Furthermore, GAO found that GSA has a role in setting a strategic framework to help agencies make more efficient use of warehouse space.

The case studies presented on this site should serve as a catalyst for federal agencies to share best practices and innovative and successful initiatives that improve the management of their warehouse assets. The following innovative examples of warehouse space best practices illustrate cost-effective ways to acquire, manage and dispose of federal warehouses space.

GSA will continually update this page with information to promote the effective use of federal warehouses and provide practical strategies for disposing of warehouse space that is unneeded and underutilized. If your organization has a proven strategy for reducing warehouse space costs and enhancing warehouse asset management, please let us know. We would be delighted to share your innovation with the federal real property community. Instead of warehousing products and buying, shipping and storing office supplies and other common-use retail items, GSA will rely on its commercial partners to ship directly to customers.

This new business model will simplify the federal acquisition process and save nearly half a billion dollars over the next five years. The Government Accountability Office GAO provides a framework and guide that federal managers can use to improve the accuracy and reliability of the government's inventory and related property data. GAO studied the inventory count processes and procedures of seven leading-edge private sector companies to identify the key factors and practices they use to achieve accurate and reliable physical counts.

The report describes the fundamental practices and procedures used in the private sector to achieve consistent and accurate physical counts. The report also describes leading practices from which the Federal Government may be able to draw lessons and ideas. Although originally developed inthe warehousing best practices in this report are still very relevant today. RPUD effectively promotes the full utilization of federal property and develops innovative solutions to reposition real property assets, including warehouses.

This link provides tools and resources to assist federal agencies to report warehouse space excess for disposal and obtain information on available excess properties that could be utilized by another federal agency. The Department of Homeland Security DHS owns and leases warehouses space for various purposes such as storing ammunition, vehicles, disaster relief supplies and seized assets.

warehouse best practices pdf

As a result, the OIG concluded that DHS's ability to make strategic management decisions to consolidate or close warehouses and demonstrate compliance with requirements to limit the size of inventories and reduce costs is limited. However, the OIG pointed to some good news, too. As part of its work to develop a plan to achieve as many cost-saving opportunities as possible, the team identified best practices such as partnerships with other government agencies to co-locate, disposing of excess materials, and efficient use of warehouse space.By eliminating paperwork and relying on mobile powered carts, companies can effectively boost dock-to-stock cycle time, eliminate improperly labeled products, and minimize inaccurate inventories.

Read More. Pushed to do more with less, and to keep workers as productive as possible in the midst of a labor crunch, managers in manufacturing need state of the art tools that help them improve processes while also minimizing errors and ensuring high levels of quality.

Mobile POS technologies are transforming the brick-and-mortar retail. Transactions and processes once tethered to fixed cash registers at the front of a store are being shifted to product aisles and outdoor venues.

warehouse best practices pdf

Get it Now. With thousands of installations worldwide, Mobile Workstations and Portable Power Systems are proven to increase productivity in a wide variety of workplaces. Supplying your products on time and with multiple channels can be quite challenging. Whenever you plan on doing inventory management for warehouses, you should focus on ROI and running a lean operation.

If you have a complex shipping system, you can opt for wave picking. If you adopt an advanced tracking method, you will find both cross docking and wave picking to save money and time. If you have a complex system, you will find all this information to be more than overwhelming at times. However, a simpler system is to analyze some specifics and find the results that you want rather than swift through endless data. With this idea, you can save a lot of money as it will eliminate additional shift orders and inventory.

Restructuring your floor plan might come with a bit of skepticism. Since product supply and demand changes continuously, you should make storage changes as well.

Aside from doing inventory tracking, you also need to do employee monitoring. Take your time, focus on results and the outcome can be very well worth it in the end. Track the bestsellers or the high sellers. An advantage of optimizing your inventory management for warehouses is that you can track sales and orders for each product or customer. Use this information to track the high sellers.

Position these in a place where you can find and follow them a lot easier. This way the entire inventory management will be more efficient, storage and shipping are performed faster, and you never have to worry about this task ever again. Proper inventory management for warehouses can be done as long as you have the right software.

That alone can be very challenging, and in the end, it might not be as economical as you expect.

warehouse best practices pdf

Lag can be a problem with most inventory management solutionsbut the latest tools on the market allow you to acquire real-time updates on the products, which can be tagged with RFID for quick and accurate inventories. Movable tracking enables you to see where items are located at all times, and it makes the entire process faster, easier and more intuitive. On the other hand, fixed tracking is also an option for many businesses.

You can seamlessly combine fixed tracking with movable tracking if you want to acquire optimal results. At the end of the day, fixed and movable tracking options can do wonders if you use them correctly.

Newcastle Systems, Inc. Register Login. Get proof of concept in your facility with your operators and your equipment. Just pay the in-bound freight charge, and we'll take care of the rest. Phone: Email: customerservice newcastlesys. Phone: Email: service newcastlesys.

Our full line of mobile power solutions will help your customers to improve speed, capacity and employee productivity. Make the Case for Mobile Power in Receiving: By eliminating paperwork and relying on mobile powered carts, companies can effectively boost dock-to-stock cycle time, eliminate improperly labeled products, and minimize inaccurate inventories. Why Mobile Power on the Shop Floor?Establishing and implementing best practices is the first step to reducing costs and time wasted in your warehouse or distribution center.

We picked the brains of our supply chain engineers to find ways to improve warehouse and distribution center efficiency to help you get started.

50 expert warehouse management best practices

A well-thought-out compliance program can streamline warehouse operations, reduce product handling, improve transportation service times and, ultimately, increase customer satisfaction. Integrating common product identification and tracking processes all the way upstream to offshore or domestic vendors will help ensure proper visibility and the seamless movement of product through the supply chain. Enforcing clear and specific labeling requirements and standard case quantities for each shipment and individual item can go a long way toward making warehouse and distribution center operations more efficient.

As with many optimization steps, small efficiencies add up over time and make a huge difference in your bottom line. Note: Businesses that run their supply chains effectively incentivize all parties involved to contribute to a more efficient supply chain rather than just punish them for non-compliance.

Considering the amount of manpower needed to operate warehouses and distribution centers, workplace incentives present a valuable opportunity to motivate employees and thereby increase productivity and boost the bottom line.

From annual bonuses to employee referral programs to company-hosted celebrations, there are any number of ways to better incentivize your workforce and improve labor efficiency. Order fulfillment and transportation can be adjusted to ensure that proper service time requirements are met, and that transport modes are optimized to keep costs down. Automatic data collection has advanced significantly in the past decade — far from the days of writing down long numbers by hand or even keying them into a keyboard, most warehouses and distribution centers now run RF barcode and RFID systems that eliminate human error from the tracking process.

Any step that can be automated means one fewer step to manage — plus, automation enables you to collect more timely and accurate data to make smarter supply chain decisions.

warehouse best practices pdf

Warehouse managers should track key performance indicators such as inventory turnover, inventory accuracy, fill rate, demand forecast and more to pinpoint inefficiencies. Warehouse managers should also use metrics to define performance goals and share that information with employees so they have a clear understanding of what they need to work toward. Putting specific measures in place and providing employees with consistent feedback is a surefire way to increase productivity and eliminate supply chain inefficiencies.

New technologies such as wrist-mounted RF units, voice pick and pick- or put-to-light order fulfillment systems go far beyond handheld scanners in terms of accelerating the picking process. Wearable device technology, such as Google Glass, has also made the tracking portion of the picking and order selection process more intuitive.

Investing in a warehouse management system WMS is a simple, but effective way to increase warehouse and distribution center efficiency. A WMS can increase inventory visibility, reduce risk of demand volatility, strategically organize execution systems, integrate systems and workflows and more to ensure peak warehouse and distribution center performance. Pick to voice warehouse systems have become popular in recent years for their ability to improve picking accuracy.

Rather than send pickers on the basis of order sequence, a Tier 1 WMS uses technology to plan picking waves according to the most efficient routes. This streamlines the picking process, which results in faster turnaround times on orders and more efficient use of labor and manpower. Each of these has the potential to create inefficiencies and therefore must be closely monitored.

Many warehouses and distribution centers have taken up the practice of lean warehouse management in order to identify and eliminate non-valued-added components and other inefficiencies from their supply chain. For example, a company looking to implement lean warehouse management might consider storing materials in a way that reduces the unnecessary transportation of supplies or standardizing workflows to reduce order processing time.