Several years ago, Amazon bought Kiva Systems for $775 million in order to start with the robotization of their warehouse system. At the moment, this attracted a lot of skeptics and nay-sayers, yet, nowadays we know that it was a move that produced an incredible ROI. Now, even though this method has proved to work, the truth is that buying robot warehouse workers is far above the budget range of a small warehouse business or even small business in a warehouse-related industry. Therefore, they need to look for alternative ways to make their business more cost-effective and here are five ways to do so.
Warehouse management system
The first thing you need to invest here is a warehouse management software, that will help you get the most out of your business. The first way in which this helps is by optimizing and speeding up processes. Second, it reduces operational expenses by making sure that the warehouse is managed with the utmost efficiency. This means that a lot gets done with as little of the work and resources invested. Then, there’s a better inventory balance, seeing as how the inventory trend might help you replenish items before they run out. At the same time, this tool will help you avoid the need to overbuy products that you already have a sufficient quantity of in your stock.
Safety protocols also boost productivity
The next thing you need to bear in mind is the fact that safety protocols also boost productivity in your warehouse. Knowing the carrying capacity of every piece of equipment in your warehouse will help you safely load equipment and avoid the number of malfunctions and employee injuries, both of which can be incredibly expensive. Also, putting barriers and fences within the warehouse creates optimal itineraries, which, other than providing you with greater overall safety, also ensure that all your employees follow the optimal work path.
Invest in proper equipment
Like in any other industry, having adequate equipment creates a massive productivity boost. However, is there a way for you to do this on a budget? Of course, forklifts, trolleys and similar pieces of equipment are a must in every warehouse and the way to save money on them is to buy used. Just make sure they’re in proper working order. Sometimes even a small fix might provide you with a positive ROI. However, what about a tad more expensive equipment like heavy forklift trucks? In this scenario, it would be for the best if you were to look for an agency that provides a forklift truck hire service. This way, you can use this equipment as a temporary solution and make your model both efficient and scalable.
In the first section, we put an emphasis on the inventory of your business, however, the way in which your business model acts in practice and the way in which it acts on paper is not the same thing. This is why you need to consult your employees, gather their feedback and ask them what is it that they would do in order to make the place more efficient. Sure, the word of a seasoned warehouse manager carries more weight than the suggestion of someone who just recently got employed in an entry-level position, yet, you need to hear everyone out. Even the slightest of alterations can make a massive difference when it comes to the overall employee feedback and here are several things you should do in order to make it all so.
The simplest way to describe warehouse productivity would be to say that the less you have to touch it, the less costly it gets. Look at it this way, if there are some products that are in constant demand, they need to be positioned where they’re easy to reach, whereas products that are seldom requested should be somewhere in the back. This way, you get to fill even those areas of the warehouse that are hard to reach (and, therefore, inefficient), as well as make a system in which you’re able to use your warehouse without having to make a mess every time you need anything. Also, you need to understand a standard procedure of order fulfillment and work towards making it possible in as a few steps as possible.
In the end, you should understand that the cost-effective ways to increase warehouse productivity work great regardless of the size of the business. In the introduction, we made a perfect example of this by mentioning the acquisition of Kiva Systems. Sure, this would be great for your warehouse business but if you can’t afford it, then this move is off the table. With so many affordable and available options, though, this isn’t really that big of a deal.