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Your warehouse is the heart of your company. When it’s managed well and operations are running smoothly, your performance will be positive and customers will be happy. But a poorly managed warehouse can lead to inefficiencies, greater costs, and poor results.

So how can you improve your warehouse management to gain more control and drive business success? Take a look at our six simple steps to take your warehouse management to the next level.


1. Simplify your processes


Does your picking process crisscross the warehouse floor? Do your putaways have multiple, unnecessary touchpoints? Overcomplicated and inefficient processes can cost you valuable time and money, and may be what is holding you back from reaching expansion goals. Look closely at your internal processes, from the way inventory is put away to how you dispatch orders, and simplify the steps and touchpoints where you can.

Simplicity is also important on the warehouse floor, including things like warehouse layout, packing stations, and equipment storage. Cluttered and untidy areas can create safety hazards and cause confusion about stock and equipment locations.

As always, simplicity shouldn’t be a replacement for accuracy or safety. It’s about removing any unnecessary obstacles and drains on your time and labor.


2. Measure performance


Performance measurement is everything. You won’t know how to better manage your warehouse and make improvements if you’re not capturing and analyzing performance metrics.

Define and track your critical KPIs, like inventory turnover, picking accuracy rate, and rate of returns. Once you’re measuring these metrics over a sustained amount of time, you will better understand where your baselines sit and where and how you can improve results.

Once you have established your performance metrics and measurement process, you can then provide appropriate feedback to departments and employees and execute steps for improvements.


3. Invest in quality equipment and hardware


Purchasing cheap equipment and hardware can reduce initial outlay costs, but it can often be a false economy. Faulty or inefficient equipment can harm ongoing productivity and interrupt regular management tasks. Wasting time and money on equipment downtime, maintenance and hardware that breaks, will hurt you in the long term, and cheap equipment can create unsafe warehouse conditions.

Instead, invest in high quality, versatile, and suitable equipment. From quality industrial barcode scanners, to pallets and bins to shelves and forklifts, your equipment needs to be appropriate for the types of items you house and your operations. Find the best solution that works for you, rather than trying to cut costs and compromise. This is the best way to get the most value out of your equipment and hardware to help manage a truly efficient warehouse.


4. Update your technology


A warehouse operating on an outdated or inadequate WMS will never be able to maintain business growth. If your technology is holding your performance back, it’s time to invest in a new warehouse management system.

A good WMS will give you all the tools to properly manage your entire warehouse, from the time inventory arrives to when orders leave your yard. It will give you full visibility across your operations, including your inventory, labor, transportation, and even your yard. Visibility is key to managing more effectively and making informed decisions.

Updating your WMS will also give you access to more advanced features like cross docking and cartonization. Stepping up your capabilities will better equip your workforce with the tools to increase productivity and efficiency, which will in turn increase profitability.


5. Conduct thorough employee training


Never underestimate how important it is for your workforce to be properly trained and competent at their jobs. While it’s an investment of time and money to train new staff (and upskill existing ones) your warehouse operations are underscored by the performance of your team.

An under-trained workforce can have knock-on effects through the entire business to your customers, with things like order mistakes, shipment delays, and inventory irregularities wreaking havoc on your operations.

Thorough and ongoing training in warehouse safety, your inventory and processes, equipment, and your warehouse management system will ensure that the entire team can work collaboratively and efficiently.


6. Continue to optimize


Running a warehouse can be an incredibly hard job — but running an efficient and successful one is even more difficult. Continuous optimization and improvement are essential for helping businesses meet their goals, while keeping them competitive in highly demanding markets. It can be tempting to reach certain performance metrics and then become complacent, but this can cause businesses to quickly fall behind.

Schedule regular reviews of your performance, systems, and workforce. Doing so will not only help you identify areas for improvement, it can also give you a big picture view of how far you have come and where you want to be. Allow yourself to recognize and celebrate your wins, this will be a great motivator for yourself and your team to continue to push for greater performance.

Is it time to update your warehouse management system and get greater control of your operations? Talk to our team today about how Da Vinci can optimize every step of your fulfillment process.


Is it time to update your warehouse management system and get greater control of your operations? Talk to our team today about how Da Vinci can optimize every step of your fulfillment process.