Five Simple Ways to Improve Warehouse Operations
Operating a warehouse efficiently is not an easy task. Here are some tips to improve your warehouse operations:
1. Maximize and optimize all available space. Business is booming in the Philippines and it may look like you will need more space soon. While you are scouting around for additional space, why don’t you investigate ways to make better use of vertical space. Instead of adding square meters to your operations, perhaps you still have available unused space if you look vertical.The additional space might be found by adding taller racking units coupled with the right kind of forklift and the right equipment to pick and store material higher.
Perhaps adding small cabinets with shelves can give you additional space. Storing small items on pallet racks wastes space, and makes it easy to misplace items. Rather than using the same racks throughout your warehouse, you may need various types of shelving for different materials.
2. Adopt the Lean Inventory Approach. One of the reasons for over-filled warehouses is the lack of coordination between purchasing, warehousing, and inventory planning. Purchasing could be trying to take advantage of price reductions by bulk purchasing and not realize that there is nowhere to store these items once they are bought.
Lean Management teaches us that the ideal system is just-in-time inventory. Conceptually this means that the ideal warehouse is an empty one. That is, the last of your stocks are at the shipping dock while the replacement stocks are at the receiving dock.
Of course, it never really happens this way. It is always better to have some safety stock in the warehouse. What the Lean Inventory approach really means that it is better to have only the stocks you need rather buying large amounts of stock to take advantage of quantity pricing. The costs associated with storing the stocks coupled with risk of your stocks becoming obsolete might outweigh the saving from bulk pricing.
3. Organize Storage Locations. Use 5S to organize your storage locations. The 5Ss of Sort; Set in order; Shine; Standardize; and Sustain – will speed up the location of parts and materials, reduce wasted space, reduce clutter and errors, and improve safety.
4. Adopt a warehouse management system (WMS) with a bar code reading system. Computerized warehouse management will greatly speed up the counting of stocks with greater accuracy. It will also help you analyze your stock movements easily and determine the best stocking levels for your business.
5. Train your Staff. The concepts, tools, and techniques need to operate the modern warehouse efficiently are not taught at home or in school. However, these concepts, tools, and techniques.
Improving warehouse efficiency is about knowing the modern concepts, tools and techniques as well as having the right storage equipment and layout. The simple steps above is a good start to improving your Warehouse Operations.
Rafael M. Pefianco MPM FAAPM is a Mechanical Engineer by training, Master in Project Management, a Fellow of the American Academy of Project Management and an international trainer. He has an extensive background in manufacturing, sales, distribution and training. He has worked both in the government and private sectors. He is an International trainer whose passion is to enable Filipino professionals to reach world class levels by sharing the insights he has gathered working and teaching abroad and in the Philippines. His clients include major manufacturing and distribution companies here and abroad. Please click [Background of Raffy Pefianco] to know more about him.
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