- Start profiling your orders. Knowing which items move most often and which customers order regularly can greatly increase your warehouse’s productivity. Order profiling is the process of analyzing historical data on customers, the frequency of orders for various SKUs and past efficiency records. Using this data, you can optimize the picking process and reduce valuable lost travel time by placing your inventory in the right location.
- Find the shipping cartons that work for you — and stick with them. Uniformity makes things easier, especially when you’re loading up an 18-wheeler. Most warehouses find two or three shipping cartons that work for most orders, and stick with those. By making your process more complex, irregular shipping containers can cost you valuable time and money.
- Don’t be afraid of automation. The history of warehouse automation is packed with both huge successes and disastrous failures, but at this point in time, if you’re not taking advantage of automation you’re missing out. In a study of small businesses published by DataLogic, participants found that automation reduced lost time by 25.1%, increased savings from inventory accuracy by 7.5% and increased savings from order accuracy by 5.1%. If you find that your productivity is stagnating, automation might be your next move.
- Analyze and optimize your picking methodology. Using the correct order picking methodology can greatly improve your warehouse’s efficiency. One study found that as much as half of all order picking time is spent on unproductive travel. There are a number of different strategies to minimize unproductive travel, including batch and cluster order systems.It’s a generally accepted fact that picking horizontally takes less time than picking vertically. When you just can’t afford the horizontal floor space to hold your inventory, keep the items that go out most often near the floor to minimize lost time.
- Understand your technology options. Reducing human error is one of the keys to increasing efficiency — knowing what technology is available and implementing it properly can can drive that reduction. From low-tech conveyor belts to advanced warehouse management software, there’s probably technology you could be using that you don’t even know about. Stay up on industry news and ahead of the curve.
- Implement a data-driven incentive program. Incentive plans can keep your workers motivated and focused. In a recent survey, 20% of warehouse workers said that they are “actively disengaged” with their work. Motivated employees deliver better results, and implementing an incentive program based on clear goals, and ongoing training can get your “actively disengaged” workers back on task.
- Get the latest warehouse management software. There are many reasons to keep your business systems up-to-date, but one of the biggest ones is functionality — you don’t want to miss out on the features that make other apparel businesses competitive. A good warehouse management software system provides you with the data and analysis you need to optimize your picking process, monitor employee productivity and maximize efficiency.
ABS’ warehouse management software (WMS) and apparel ERP has helped businesses large and small optimize their processes, increase productivity and step up their warehouse management game. To learn more about how our WMS can improve your business, contact Apparel Business Systems today.