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A disorganized warehouse is the leading cause of warehouse congestion, inventory inefficiencies and slower than ideal shipping speeds.
In fact, warehouse optimization strategies are quickly shaping up to be one of the hotter topics in the logistics industry as we move further into 2020. And a solid warehouse optimization strategy is highly beneficial to just about any size warehouse.
But how do you ease warehouse congestion without overspending, compromising customer service, or impacting warehouse worker safety?
Let's take a quick peek at what warehouse congestion is and how you can start optimizing your warehouse space right away.
When something is congested, it means it is so crowded with traffic or people that it hinders freedom of movement. And with warehouse congestion, this can mean that it affects your ability to take care of fulfilling customer orders in a timely manner. Additionally, it can also have a rather large negative impact on warehouse safety.
Some of the leading sources of warehouse congestion include:
Even the biggest warehouse facilities have issues with bandwidth and storage space. If the warehouse is overcrowded with inventory, it can cause congestion.
The layout of your warehouse can likewise lead to congestion. Most of the time, this impacts your forklifts and equipment operational efficiency, but can also lead to delays with picking and packaging – even shipping products to consumers.
Problems with relaying updated information through a fulfillment warehouse can likewise cause a clog in operations. Whether its customers updating their orders online or requesting a change in address, communication gaps never improve congestion – it has the opposite effect.
As we roll into 2020, warehouse operators across the globe are actively seeking creative and cost-effective ways to not only reduce congestion in their warehouses but expedite order fulfillment and improve customer service.
If you’re in this situation, here are some tips for reducing warehouse congestion.
There is a big difference between being overstocked and having too many SKUs inside your warehouse. However, both have an impact on the efficiency and flow of your warehouse. When you have higher quantities of inventory, it takes up more space, requires more movement of freight, and ultimately, reduces bandwidth.
To reduce clutter and optimize the layout of your warehouse, consider updating your inventory control software to cloud-based solutions, that can improve inventory levels. Likewise, consider working with suppliers and vendors to improve lead time, so you can order products and supplies quicker with reduced delays – without having to overstock.
We mentioned communication gaps or delays as being a root source of warehouse congestion. A leading contributor to these problems is outdated technology. Fulfillment centers depend on speed, accuracy and lightning-quick updates to pick the right products, send them to pack and then ship to customers.
Updates with warehouse management systems that are connected to voice recognition systems, cross-docking capacity, and consolidate and update inventory levels instantly can reduce congestion problems before they occur.
Automation is another area that can help reduce the traffic flow of the warehouse movement. Some companies are updating their offloading and unloading equipment with automated or self-driving, AI-assisted machines. The warehouse is likewise updated with improved Wi-Fi connectivity, satellite tracking systems, and RFID tags to improve the ability to locate products quicker, faster, and more efficiently.
Too many warehouse operators try to stuff all of their daily activities with limited shifts and with reduced employees. This rarely helps with efficiency – in fact, it can lead to wasted hours, mistakes in order fulfillment, and other congestion problems.
One way to reduce the potential of these problems, consider increasing shifts and hours of operation. This will help you expand your order fulfillment hours, put less pressure on employees, improve customer service, and expedite the movement of freight through your facility.
There are sometimes when your business gets so busy – you simply need to consider outsourcing your fulfillment on a regional basis. This is where developing a partnership with a professional third-party logistics company like Redwood Logistics is a smart move, not to mention more cost-effective.
By outsourcing your warehousing and fulfillment services to a proven 3PL, you’ll save money, ensure the latest technology is used, and begin working with a company that strives to enhance customer service. By opening your fulfillment in different regions, you can reduce shipping charges and get orders out to customers quicker. All without spending excessive capital on expansion.
If you’re looking to reduce warehouse clutter and congestion, contact Redwood Logistics today.