Warehouse Optimization Guide- How to Compete in the Digital Age
Updated on November 14, 2022 | by Alex Jones
If you want your business to remain competitive in 2022, optimizing your operations is essential. Warehouse optimization involves using automated technologies and innovative practices to increase your business’s profitability and streamline delivery, loading, and unloading processes. Improving your overall warehouse processes may seem challenging; however, there are a few easy ways to get started.
What is Warehouse Optimization?
Warehouse optimization is merging your entire operation to better determine the best way to execute and deliver orders. To improve your warehouse procedures from beginning to end, you must identify the most cost-effective ways to collect orders, choose the appropriate materials, and dispatch them, all while delivering excellent customer service.
From the supply side, efficient inventory management, handling times, product movement, and transportation and delivery are all critical to keeping the warehouse running smoothly. From the customer’s perspective, the warehouse must meet all delivery timeframes and deal with any adjustments or concerns that arise along the process.
The Need for Warehouse Optimization in the Digital Age
Due to two major developments, traditional warehouses (or distribution centers) have encountered the need for transformation and logistic optimization.
For starters, the nature of fulfillment and distribution is changing: clients want efficient and extremely quick service.
Second, warehouse management is undergoing a digital innovation boom. Businesses should implement warehouse optimization strategies that leverage cutting-edge technologies to stay ahead of the competition.
6 Effective Tips on How to Optimize Warehouse Operations in 2022
The warehouse is your company’s link between supply and demand. A poorly managed warehouse can have an influence on every other aspect of the organization, from sales to customer service and even day-to-day operations.
While streamlining your warehouse operations may appear daunting, there are simple strategies to get started and progressively improve your environment, resulting in enhanced supply chain efficiency over time.
Some effective warehouse optimization techniques:
Warehouse Layout Optimization
Optimizing your warehouse layout entails carefully creating a facility layout that correctly utilizes the existing space to support the smooth running of processes, and boosts efficiency.
Warehouse zones are an efficient way to increase your space. A zone is a physically or intellectually separated region inside a warehouse determined by the kind of item stored (bulk or rack shelving, hazardous material, etc.).
Use Robotic Technologies
Robots can be used for a variety of fulfillment tasks, including picking (to minimize all or some of the walking and traveling that reduces productivity), physical pick and place (to reduce contact), packaging, and transporting goods between staging locations for putting away or restocking of inventory.
The types of warehouse robots include:
Automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and their smaller counterparts, automated guided carts (AGCs), deliver merchandise effectively across your facility. They usually follow a track or magnetic stripes on the warehouse floor.
These compact and agile robots can precisely scan and sort the information on each box. Because AMRs establish their own paths based on the task required, they may travel throughout the warehouse. These robots provide efficiency, precision, and security during the sorting process.
Drones can assist in the optimization of warehouse inventory procedures by rapidly scanning regions for automated inventory data. They can instantly connect to your WMS (if your system supports integration) to retrieve and validate existing inventory information.
AS/RS (Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems) are technologies that transport inventory into and out of storage. It is frequently combined with warehouse execution software, which directs operations. AS/RS’s come in several types based on the job, the system required, or the items they will be dealing with.
Manage Inventory with Warehouse Management Software
Warehouse management software (WMS) consolidates all essential inventory data into one platform. Automating your inventory count and control allows you to optimize your facility layout, increase flexibility and responsiveness, and maintain an ongoing implementation strategy.
Some features of WMS that help with inventory management include:
- Tracking real-time inventory information
- Monitoring sales trends and forecasting demand
- Identifying and mitigating inconsistencies
- Preventing stock-outs
- Automating inventory check-ins
Use Higher-density Pallet Racking
Switching to higher-density pallet racking that holds 50% more than your previous racking can double your open floor space for extra shelving, product staging, or employee mobility. If your warehouse already has an optimal traffic flow, employing higher-density pallet racking allows you to store more items or heavier loads in the same amount of space.
High-density pallet racking methods include:
- Double-deep racking
- Drive-in racking
- Block stacking
Even how you package things contributes to your warehouse’s overall efficiency. Limit yourself to two or three basic shipping packages. As a result, pickers may make orders faster and are less overwhelmed by option anxiety. This strategy also reduces freight costs and makes it easier to implement a pick-path method.
Shipping software improves the packaging process’s efficiency. The software can generate product labels and compute package weight automatically. They also frequently interface with warehouse management systems to streamline the operation.
Track Assets with a Real-time Location System
A Real-Time Location System (RTLS) records and monitors items and interactions in real-time. It has quickly become the go-to solution for warehouses looking to optimize their total value. RTLS eliminates any ambiguity from your operation by delivering quick real-time data on everything from forklift driver routes and speed to the actual position of cargo and forklifts.
How Your Company Can Benefit from Warehouse Optimization
Like any other business, warehouses must adjust to market changes or risk failing. As the industry integrates new technology, tools, and procedures to tackle the challenges of a rapidly changing market, warehouse management will become more automated and efficient.
Your facility will benefit from optimization by:
- Boosting productivity
- Lowering its bottom line
- Increasing employee safety
- Maximizing storage space
- Maintaining healthy client relationships
Optimizing your warehouse by evaluating each process and looking for ways to improve them can help you run a much more efficient company than ever, allowing you to stay afloat in today’s demanding market.