7 best practices for an efficient warehouse operation

Organisational skills are very handy things to have in life. Some people have a natural born knack for seeing a situation and knowing exactly what needs to be done to improve it, while others need a bit of help to get things sorted out. If you fall into the latter camp, then this article is designed for you. In this piece, we’re going to be talking about what you need to change in order to achieve the most efficient warehouse operation, whether it’s getting better lifting equipment or changing the layout depending on seasons.

After all, a warehouse is a nebulous beast with a huge amount of moving parts and ‘things that can go wrong’ – and as many of us know, when things can go wrong, they usually do. Now a caveat if you will – when things can go wrong, they go wrong, sure, but it’s usually for the people who haven’t taken the time to prepare for the potential mishap or loss of efficiency. So many companies think that so long as the products are going out on time, and so long as there aren’t too many complaints, things are going great – but it’s just not true, and there’s so much you can do to improve things.

A curve ball isn’t a curve ball if you see it coming, and that’s why this article on the seven best practices for efficient warehouse operation is designed to make your life easier. We have outlined what steps you need to take, and what you need to focus on in order to get the best possible outcomes. Our aim is to save you time and money, and make your work life a whole lot easier. So, without further ado – let’s get started!

  1. Analyse your current picking methods

No matter what kind of warehouse you’re running, you need to make sure that the picking methods you’re using are the most efficient ones. Whether single order, batch, zone picking, or single picking; you need to make sure that you’re using the correct picking methodology.

  1. Create profiles for orders

The most popular items that are ordered are likely to vary depending on the seasons, so make sure that you have the outline for how you order items. This needs to be shuffled around depending on the requirements of the season, and by doing this, you reduce unnecessary travel for your pickers.

  1. Reassess your equipment needs

Do you have all of the correct equipment for your warehouse, and so that your pickers can do their jobs efficiently? You might have been waiting to buy a new stacker or tipper – but this decision to wait might be costing you more in lost efficiency. Think about the worth of your equipment.

  1. Get software to do the order sequencing

It’s so much easier to plug the numbers into a computer – and it will save you a lot of time on the floor. Your software should be able to organise workflows.

  1. Ensure that your storage suits the flow of your orders

Do you have a bunch of seasonal items grouped in bins or on pallet shelves? Do you store frequently accessed items in a convenient location or are you forcing unnecessary trips and wasted resources? Think about this in terms of your pickers.

  1. Automation might be an option

When you think about the fact that pickers spend around 60% of their time moving around, it might make sense to consider automated solutions.

  1. Incentivise your picking

Often, increasing efficiency is as simple as incentivising the process. You need to make sure that the KPIs you’re using to drive performance are accurate in order for your program to work.

I hope that this short piece on the top seven ways to increase efficiency in your warehouse has proven useful to you.