5 Best Warehouse Management Practices
The job of a warehouse manager is one that requires a constant shifting of priorities. It involves gathering the right data, making lightning-quick decisions, and a toastmaster-like ability to communicate with different audiences.
It is one of the most difficult jobs in the logistics industry, mainly because qualified candidates must possess multiple skills, combined with exceptional time management abilities to run and truly manage the day-to-day activities a fulfillment location.
Becoming a warehouse manager is not getting any easier in today’s quickly evolving supply chain industry. The modern fulfillment center or warehouse facility must flow with the changes that customers, suppliers, carriers, and vendors throw at them. The individuals who are successful as warehouse managers are those who use best practices with implementing trends or new technology aimed at accomplishing daily, weekly, monthly, and annual business goals.
Let’s take a look at some of the warehouse management practices that modern warehouse managers adhere to everyday…
Be Creative and Smart About AI Integration
One of the hottest trends in order fulfillment processing and warehouse management practices is the implementation of artificial intelligence.
AI in warehouse management software solutions has the capacity of learning from mistakes, providing solutions to improve operational efficiency, and supply reporting features that permit the warehouse managers and operators to make better decisions.
However, this technology is also rapidly and continuously expanding. AI solutions are becoming more robust and appear to make one another obsolete every single year, a constant back and forth of popularity and upgrades.
The first best practice for operating a warehouse in today’s technologically advanced society is to be creative and smart when upgrading your WMS platforms with artificial intelligence. While it might seem attractive to make the decisions on upgrading your software in house, it is smarter to consult with third-party experts in this industry before writing the check.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
Although warehouse operators tend to focus on the bottom line, without people the warehouse simply cannot function. Spending time developing the team and improving interpersonal relationships with all employees and departments is another important best practice for warehouse operators and those who manage fulfillment centers.
A major hurdle in today’s warehouse and fulfillment center is employee turnover. to combat this focus on improving communication with your team and all employees, which will develop a stronger team and more efficient operation with your mistakes.
Infuse Automation Gradually
Some warehouse managers believe that the best tool to improve the efficiency of their facility is one that is automated. And with all due respect to the best practice noted above, this statement is true – from a certain point of view.
Automation from order entry systems, to automated forklifts and offloading equipment, even robotic technology for pulling, packaging, and shipping orders, has been proven to improve operational efficiency, reduce onsite employee accidents, and save money in the long-term.
However, the mistake many managers fall victim is infusing automation quickly, and not on a scalable front.
To avoid excessive capital expenses, and to ensure a smooth transition, gradually implement automation into your facility. Consider starting with software solutions, such as WMS with automated notifications sent to customers as a starter.
Improve Inventory Control
Maintaining positive inventory counts is another focal point for any warehouse operator. When your inventory is accurate, it permits easier ordering to maintain correct inventory levels, better fulfill to customers, and reduce the potential of out-of-stock situations that kills customer service. A growing best practice for managers is completing a bi-annual review of the tools used to process orders, help expedite order returns, and streamline communication through the fulfillment process.
Consider looking into inventory control systems that are scalable, that provide flexibility with user accounts, so you can expand and detract during peak seasons of operation.
Build Relationships with Third-Party Logistics Professionals
Even if you operate a 3PL fulfillment center yourself, it simply makes sense to have strong relationships with the bigger fish in the pond. Although a warehouse manager must be multitasked and have a large picture perspective on warehouse management practices, quite often updates with technology or consumer trends can quickly accelerate past the manager’s capacity.
The final best practice for any warehouse manager or operator is to consider developing relationships with full-scale 3PL’s – like Redwood Logistics.
Today’s large-scale or full-service third-party logistics companies like Redwood Logistics have experience with advanced warehouse management systems, inventory control, and order management solutions. They partner with leading software developers, giving them the flexibility to custom configures their technology solutions to better serve individual clients.
If you’re thinking about integrating any of these popular trends in warehouse management into your daily operations, contact Redwood Logistics to learn more about these technology solutions.