Using Warehouse Layout Strategies to Make Warehousing More Efficient

The measure of success for a warehouse is typically determined by results: the units of product successfully and efficiently received, processed and shipped, minimal inventory damages, no injury incidents. If target numbers for categories like these are achieved, warehousing strategies might not venture beyond maintaining the status quo — the adage of "don't fix what isn't broken" at work. What fulfillment center managers often fail to realize, however, is that assessing and improving warehousing layout can move a business from treading water to real change, the lasting kind that bolsters the all-important bottom line.

Is your warehouse working as hard for you as it should be?

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Expand Your Warehouse versus Outsource Your Fulfillment Needs

It’s no secret that managing warehousing expenses has always been tricky for COOs and supply chain managers. What happens when your warehouse is reaching capacity? Do you build, relocate or outsource your fulfillment needs?

Space doesn't come cheap and can't easily be expanded in small increments. When a company decides to build new warehouse, it typically must build more than it presently needs. In the near-term, much of the new capacity will probably sit empty. On the other hand, space limitations will cap your company's potential revenue or potentially create safety issues for your associates. In both instances, something must change.

How do you strike a balance between current warehousing needs, anticipated future warehousing needs and justifying the projected budget? If you’re looking to expand, follow these steps to determine if it’s time to outsource your fulfillment needs.

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Finding and Keeping the Best Talent in Your Warehouse

What makes a warehousing and distribution center a standout among its industry peers? Is it great geographical positioning, superior IoT-enabled technology, or it’s beneficial contracts with carriers? The truth is, without the individuals who keep a given warehouse stocked, organized and able to pack and ship at a moment’s notice, it's little more than a very large concrete or metal box, filled with disorganized products. A trustworthy, intelligent employee is worth more, over time, than just about any product or component you could possibly stock.

From learned industry behaviors to innovative thinking, the humans between your shelves are the "brain cells" that keep your warehouse running. Lose too many of those cells, and you lose industry standing and reputation right along with them. Just as tasks like 3PL contract negotiations or making space for new product lines are integral parts of a logistics managers' job, so is the responsibility of attracting and retaining employees. Having too many new employees means a heavy burden of training and newcomer mistakes to contend with — so make sure you get it right the first time, and keep your talent in place. 

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Take Your Warehousing to the Next Level, 7 Tips for Operations Managers

One of the biggest mistakes that a company can make is believing there's no way to improve, especially when it comes to warehouse processes. It's not a stretch to say that continuous improvement is the only surefire way to remain competitive, that standing still essentially means falling behind in the current business arena. Even if your team and facility work amazingly well together, chances are there's at least a few of these seven warehousing and logistics tips you can leverage towards fine-tuning.

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How to Find and Keep the Best Talent in Your Warehouse

What makes a warehousing and distribution center a standout among its industry peers? Is it great geographical positioning, superior IoT-enabled technology, or perhaps it’s beneficial contracts with carriers? The truth is, without the individuals who keep a given warehouse stocked, organized and able to pack and ship at a moment’s notice, it's little more than a very large concrete or metal box, filled with disorganized products. A trustworthy, intelligent employee is worth more, over time, than just about any product or component you could possibly stock.

From learned industry behaviors to innovative thinking, the humans between your shelves are the "brain cells" that keep your warehouse running. Lose too many of those cells, and you lose industry standing and reputation right along with them. Just as tasks like 3PL contract negotiations or making space for new product lines are integral parts of a logistics managers' job, so is the responsibility of attracting and retaining employees. Having too many new employees means a heavy burden of training and newcomer mistakes to contend with — so make sure you get it right the first time, and keep your talent in place. 

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Protecting Your Warehousing Data: How to Eliminate Worry

Data storage and movement, especially in the age of the Internet of Things, is an intrinsic part of efficient warehousing and distribution. Properly compiled, updated and leveraged, data points such as items-on-hand, overall stock volume and sales trends can help your warehouse team meet challenges head-on, with little to no downtime needed to fully assess operational needs. Fed into your system through a combination of warehouse technology connections and periodic updates through inventory checks, it's a true treasure trove of actionable insights within your company. Unfortunately, like most treasure troves, it has a tendency to attract worrisome interest from outsiders as well.

The key to using data responsibly is to maximize access for the right individuals while minimizing risk from the wrong ones. Here are a few guidelines to help you build your secure warehousing data plan:

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How Warehousing and Distribution Drive Customer Satisfaction

Deciding on a location for your new warehousing space often requires a strategy that relies heavily on company resources. This, in turn means that a disproportional amount of thought is given to immediate and short-term cost over long-term customer satisfaction. Granted, certain considerations — overall cost of operations, proximity to major suppliers, ease of access to 3PL partners — are necessary components of a smart warehouse location, but your search may highlight a need to step back and reanalyze your decision making process.

If moving shop causes your delivery targets to slip and your customer satisfaction scores to wane, here are a few tools to pivot back to success.

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The Essential KPIs You Need to Measure Your Warehousing Efficiency

Assessing the health of a human being generally involves a specific set of tests that each have a certain set of guiding numbers, with a hearty pulse accepted as the first signal of overall health. In contrast, though a warehouse may have a metaphorical "heart" in its management, there is no universal pulse to examine, nor one-size-fits-all readings to compare against. Each business and warehouse is a self-contained environment, created through a mix of industry, niche, volume, staff and dozens of other variables that defy casual categorization. So how do you determine which warehousing metrics you should gather and follow

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How to Create a Warehousing Strategy Geared Towards Growth

The very concept of optimizing warehousing and logistics has completely changed shape and boundaries since the emergence of the omni-channel movement. Rather than a single, clear road to success, keeping fulfillment capabilities on par with business growth has become more like several concepts simultaneously navigating a maze that changes from moment to moment. It can be dizzying for a strong, slow-moving portion of a company like traditional warehousing to keep up with the fast pace of change. But for a business to remain wholly competitive, it must develop a warehousing strategy that mimics or surpasses the ambitions of sales and marketing efforts — otherwise the latter will quickly outpace the former. But how can an evolving company effectively transfer and apply techniques designed for another department to the heart of their fulfillment center?

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7 Tips for Operations Managers Ready to Take Warehousing to the Next Level

One of the biggest mistakes that a company can make is believing there's no way to improve, especially when it comes to warehouse processes. With the unique demands of omni-channel in play in nearly every industry, there's no such thing as a "set and forget" approach that will hold together for very long. It's not a stretch to say that continuous improvement is the only surefire way to remain competitive, that standing still essentially means falling behind in the current business arena. Even if your team and facility work amazingly well together, chances are there's at least a few of these seven warehousing and logistics tips you can leverage towards fine-tuning.

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3 Unconventional Warehousing Layout Strategies That Work

You've invested in great people, great shelving and a great location, so why aren't your warehousing layout / KPI (key performance indicators) strategies working? Omni-channel has disrupted the comfort and familiarity of the “one true way” style of warehouse management. Innovators like Amazon are shaking the very foundations of tried-and-true workflows to uncover hidden caches of efficiency and cost savings. Automation and connectivity is strapping the equivalent of seven-league boots to your staff, allowing them to work harder and smarter without wearing themselves down. While these advancements require some decision-making and resource allocation to function, the best possible environment is one that allows them to properly flourish: an intelligently-designed warehouse.

Here are three “outside the box” strategies that will guide your “inside the box” product picking and packing to a successful outcome.

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Most Important Questions Every Warehousing Manager Should Be Able to Answer

Just as a farmer knows the lay of the land and a surgeon knows the body's inner workings, a warehousing manager needs to know the state of his or her warehouse at all times. This includes not only operational warehouse management data, but warehousing KPIs that speak to the day's work — not merely the materials involved in it. These trends are important, not only for internal improvements, but for reporting and collaborating with supply chain partners as well. If pushing to achieve X goal requires Y products and Z service, for example, the latter two must be consulted in order for the first to manifest. What metrics does your warehouse need to read to succeed?

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you try to zero in on these elements.

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Struggling With Lackluster Warehousing and Distribution? Take These 5 Steps.

Have you ever looked at the operational data coming out of your warehouse and felt you could do better? Are you puzzled by the low efficiency scores, bad fill rates or sluggish speeds that keep showing up within your workflow? Is the C-Suite leaning on you to improve your turnaround time or output? Getting the results you need out of your warehousing and distribution requires knowledge and proactive examination at every step, but the effort only demands five simple steps in all.

It's time for your fulfillment center to set up a framework that gathers data and runs like a well-oiled engine of commerce, but where do you start?

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3 Warehouse Layout Strategies that Can Make Warehousing More Efficient

The measure of success for a warehouse is typically determined by results: the number of goods successfully received and sent out, minimal stock damages, no injury incidents. If target numbers for categories like these are achieved, warehousing strategies might not venture beyond maintaining the status quo — the adage of "don't fix what isn't broken" at work. What fulfillment center managers often fail to realize, however, is that assessing and improving warehousing layout can move a business from treading water to real change, the lasting kind that bolsters the all-important bottom line.

Is your warehouse working as hard for you as it should be?

Read More

Warehousing Trends That Simplify Logistics for Busy Operations Managers

Achieving excellence in the supply chain is a goal that's become something of a moving target in the wake of the omnichannel movement, forcing operational managers to learn and use new skills on the fly. Even with confidence and years of experience to their name, managers often long for the simpler days before the digital revolution added a hundred extra moving parts to logistics and warehouse planning. Thankfully, new trends can be a transformative experience that eliminates many frustrations — provided the right solutions for a given workflow are used. 

Automation and forecasting are the two best strategies for a logistics-weary professional trying to optimize their warehouse, and, thankfully, there are a number of innovations available that cater to both.

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7 Metrics You Need to Streamline Your Warehousing Processes

We live in an always-on, digital world where people have come to expect instant satisfaction. As a result, operations directors face increasing pressure to streamline processes to keep their warehouses functioning at the highest level of efficiency. But it’s not always about working faster or harder. After all, if an airline pilot gets on the intercom and says, “We’re lost, but we’re making good time,” you wouldn’t be impressed with his efficiency. So, how can you develop the warehousing processes that will lead to true efficiency?

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