How Warehouse Layout Affects Picking Speeds
The speed at which a business can fulfill an order is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. And this statement is that much more true for e-commerce businesses that already must compete in an extremely competitive industry.
But do you know the leading cause of slow order fulfillment?
The one thing that leads to slower than desired order fulfillment actually starts right on the warehouse floor, not on the road. It happens before the goods ever have the chance of leaving the fulfillment center. The issue starts with a poor warehouse layout that complicated or prolongs picking speeds.
Let’s take a minute to look at a few of the ways that a warehouse layout can affect picking speeds, how to discover those pain points and then finally how to choose a warehouse that can cater to the sort of layout you may require.
When to Switch and Choosing a New Warehouse Space
For any business looking to grow and expand, having a warehouse with an optimized layout for making order fulfillment as efficient as possible is essential. If you are considering buying or leasing a new warehouse space, you should first make sure you are fully prepared for all that entails.
This seems like a no-brainer, but you might be surprised at how many businesses rush into such a large change.
Of course, if you are limited to the warehouse you are currently occupying, you can always consider simply choosing a new picking pattern that works seamlessly with your warehouse space. If you haven’t already, check out our blog post on wave picking!
This is the due diligence needed that many retailers or suppliers tend to skimp on. This only serves to cost them more money in the long-run and potentially leads to critical operational inefficiencies.
Before making the switch to a bigger warehouse, you should make sure it is necessary and that you can afford it. There are certain instances where it makes sense to switch to a bigger warehouse, such as when your sales are exceeding your storage capacity or if you decide to expand into a new market.
Discovery – The Role it Plays on Warehouse Optimization
The first thing to do is to determine the size of your fulfillment center or storage warehouse. Your warehouse needs to be large enough to hold all your current inventory while not restricting efforts to scale your business. However, it shouldn’t be so large as to sacrifice efficiency.
After deciding on a certain size, you need to consider other details that will make a difference in the day-to-day operations of your business. Some other key elements to consider in addition to size are:
Your warehouse’s location determines how quickly orders can be fulfilled and shipped to your customers. Optimally, your warehouse should be in a location that is closest to most of your target market. Whichever warehouse you choose, make sure that the warehouse has a loading dock, as this will make receiving pallet shipments much easier.
Buying or leasing a warehouse will be expensive, so you should run the numbers and make sure your profit margins are high enough to afford it. In addition to the cost of the warehouse itself, remember to factor in shipping costs.
Credit or Cash
If your business is already well established and is simply expanding, consider getting a line of credit from a bank to cover these costs. In most cases, signing a multi-year lease will make the most sense. However, you should make sure there is little to no chance that your business goes under during this time.
Depending on where your warehouse is located, there will be a certain kind of job market for you to draw from to find staff to operate the warehouse. Make sure to research whether your business fits the local industry, whether you can afford the potential staff you’ll hire, and whether you will be able to find staff that is qualified and experienced.
Make sure the warehouse you choose has enough extra space in case you decide to expand your product line in the future. Since moving from one warehouse to another is expensive and time-consuming, sticking with one warehouse that is big enough to house all your products will be best.
Still Need Help?
In the end, optimizing your warehouse is a process that is always customized for each business type, scope, volume, and consumer base or needs. Due to this fact, it’s crucial to consult with a proven and professional third-party logistics company that can help you ensure your fulfillment center or warehouse is set up for success.
If you have questions about order fulfillment or the process of optimizing your warehouse, contact Redwood Logistics.