Warehouses are an essential go-between in the relationship between manufacturers and end-users. You can create warehouse workflow efficiency by using warehouse management software to pinpoint bottlenecks and improve productivity.
Warehouses are becoming increasingly critical in fulfilling massive order demands created by e-commerce platforms, as well as the need for fast product delivery. Warehouse operations are made of many moving parts that work in unison to ensure the accuracy of products received from the manufacturer, storage conditions, and accurate delivery to the customers.
Key warehouse processes
There are six key warehouse processes that can be streamlined to lower costs, reduce mistakes, and increase the percentage of accurate order fulfillment:
Receiving is the first and most essential warehouse workflow operation, as it involves confirming that the warehouse has received the right product in the correct amounts and conditions and at the right time. Transferring products to the warehouse is also a receiving aspect.
Putaway involves moving the merchandise from the receiving dock to the warehouse storage location. Warehouse productivity can often depend on placing goods in the most advantageous location, as it allows for faster and more efficient cargo storage, less time in transit, and better product safety.
Storage refers to the process of putting items in the most optimal storage location, allowing for efficient space optimization and improved labor productivity.
Picking is the warehouse workflow procedure of gathering products from a warehouse—and it’s also the most expensive process. It accounts for 55% of running costs and is thus a key area of optimization.
In this step, previously selected items are gathered into a sales order so that it can be sent to the customer. This includes checking for damages and ensuring that packaging is as light as possible to reduce costs.
Shipping is the last step in transporting goods from the warehouse to the consumer and involves ensuring that orders are correctly sorted, loaded, transported, and sent to the customer.
Improving warehouse workflow efficiency
Warehouse management software does away with manual processes that tend to be prone to errors and delays and can lead to miscalculations, pickup errors, inaccurate data, and less-than-ideal picking rates.
Implementing warehouse management software can help organizations establish an efficient, standardized workflow that employees can follow throughout the order fulfillment process and greatly improve warehouse efficiency. Warehouse management software captures product data in real-time, optimizing paths that can be followed to ensure that orders are completed in the shortest possible time.
Optimizing warehouse storage is also essential in improving warehouse efficiency, as disorganized shelves and workstations can cause delays due to misplaced items and inaccurate inventory counts. Labeling packages accurately and practicing proper stock segregation are also essential practices when trying to improve workflow efficiency.
Lastly, lean warehousing can keep stock inventories from expiring or going to waste. By warehousing only what is required, enterprises can avoid ordering more inventory than they need, thereby improving warehouse efficiency and eliminating waste.
Designing a standardized automatic workflow also allows employees to work within pre-set guidelines, promoting transparency with regard to package movement, order fulfilment, and other processes.