An ineffective warehouse can cripple a business.
There are 6 key warehouse inefficiencies to look out for:
1. Not Putting Products Away as they enter the Warehouse
This may occur when there is a lack of employees at the receiving area of the warehouse. Items get backed up and never make it to the warehouse floor. If items never make it to the warehouse floor, the company is in possession of product that can’t be sold.
When a warehouse management system is in place, as items are received they are put away immediately to ensure proper inventory counts. When there is visibility of the inventory, customers are able to get their orders fulfilled in a timely manner.
2. Poor Product Placement and inefficient labeling.
Some warehouses have no rhyme or reason as to where products are placed on the warehouse floor. As a result, workers may spend a lot of wasted timing running through the warehouse collecting goods.
By strategically placing items in high demand at the front of the warehouse, it will allow for quicker and more accurate picking.
3. Manually Order Checking
Manual order checking can be time consuming and may result in errors. An order may be checked several times by several different people throughout the packing process. Starting when the order is placed and a work order is produced. It is then handed to a picker and then to a packer. By this time the order has reached three different people. If the order was not picked properly, the entire shipment is put on hold while the picker goes back through the warehouse to find the missing item.
Having a Warehouse Management System in place allows for orders to be checked and double checked before reaching the packer. Everything is done electronically and the system will automatically let the picker know if an item has been over looked and still needs to get picked before being packed.
4. Unclear Pick Path
When a pick path is not defined it may take a picker a significant amount of time to fulfill an order.
By strategically placing items throughout the warehouse (ie items that are sold the most in the front of the pick path at eye level) will help minimize the amount of foot traffic through the warehouse.
5. Manual Sorting Can Lead to Mix Ups
When two look alike items are manually put away, there is room for human error. These items could be put in the same bins, even though they have different sku numbers. This could ultimately lead to the wrong product being shipped to a customer.
With a warehouse management system in place, items are put away based on their barcode. It wouldn’t matter how closely they are in size, shape, or color, as long as their barcodes are different, they will end up in their appropriate bin.
6. Manual Sorting Leaves Bins Empty
Often times a warehouse worker has a set schedule when they go around the warehouse floor and check the inventory levels of the bins. Often times this leads to bins being empty for long periods of time.
With a warehouse management system in place, there is no need for a worker to check and recheck bins for inventory. As inventory is scanned and picked by the picker, the barcode scanner automatically sends a transmission to the WMS informing it of the current levels of inventory. A WMS also has the ability to inform a superior when inventory is getting low (minimums and maximums are set upon set up), and allows for reorders to happen seamlessly.
If your warehouse suffers from any of these inefficiencies, contact MSA Systems today to learn how we can help organize and streamline your warehouse.