Successfully managing a warehouse can be a challenging endeavor for anyone. There will be unique challenges you may be unlikely to come across in other situations. Nevertheless, any practical management experience shouldn’t be difficult to apply towards running a warehouse specifically.
If you are an entrepreneur with no prior experience, taking an introductory course in management at your local community college, or even online degree programs from WGU could be very beneficial in helping you learn the foundational skills you’ll find useful.
With that said, the best kind of experience is the kind you learn on the job. This article will cover five steps that are most critical to your success in managing a warehouse.
Organization is the Key to Smooth Operations
The very first step is to get organized. If your warehouse is not organized, you’re going to waste a lot of time trying to figure out where to place incoming products and where to find products that need to go out. Ultimately, since you are the manager you will want to establish your own system of organization, but the general rule is to focus on keeping your most frequent or fastest moving products towards the front. Also, you should consider how to best group your products into categories. If this is a difficult concept to grasp, try thinking about how your local grocery store is set up. If you are looking for soda, you wouldn’t find it in the section where the milk is stored.
Keep Things Safe
The last thing any warehouse manager wants is someone to get hurt on the job. To minimize the chances of accidents, make sure you are maintaining appropriate lighting at all times. Not only does this provide your employees with a safe work environment it will also improve their ability to carry out their tasks in a more efficient manner. Forklift operations are another thing that requires special attention. Be sure to designate traffic lanes and make sure operators are given the required training they need, as noted in The Balance.
Establish a Cycle Count Procedure
Don’t wait until the very last minute to catch up on inventory. You should be performing regular inventory audits. An effective way to do this is to perform cycle counts. Cycle counts are a form of perpetual inventory counting taking place in waves, consisting of only small subsets of inventory stretched out over a period of time.
Implement Quality Control
Don’t rely on packers to double-check items before they are shipped out. You’ll want to have a process for verifying all incoming products arriving at your shipping station. Any defective or incorrect items should be set aside and shipped back as soon as possible. Do not allow these items to accumulate only to take up space that could be put to better use.
Don’t Forget About Customer Service
It’s easy to forget about customer service, but it is still an important part of running a warehouse. When you are shipping out products to clients or customers, they are going to expect to know where their products are. Utilize a shipment tracking program so that you have this information available to you at all times. Delays happen, and it’s important to be able to provide status updates to your customers in these situations.
Putting in effort ahead of time to plan out your management strategy can make the difference between a chaotic warehouse and a smooth, well-run operation. Do not wait until things are already up and running only to make a last-minute effort to bring order to all the chaos. Follow the steps above and enjoy the process!