Many factors affect the warehouse management for manufacturers and overlooking them can result in unforeseen problems. On the other hand, a well-managed warehouse that runs reliably and efficiently, can be a great asset. Understanding the challenges in warehouse management can help you be prepared with the solutions.
Key Warehouse Management Challenges
1. Warehouse Space Utilization
Effective warehouse space utilization ensures that you can do more with all of the space you have on-hand. You can maximize space utilization by exploring options such as: extending your racks up vertically, installing a mezzanine, or reducing aisle width in the racking area. If you have multiple locations for storing the same item, consider combining them to manage space better. You must also ensure that receiving areas have the necessary space for fast and efficient operations.
2. Warehouse Communication
It can be difficult to keep track of all the moving pieces in complex logistical networks such as warehouses. From inventory management to distribution, effective communication plays a key role in successful warehouse operations. There are many different ways of improving communication in your warehouse including: equipping employees with phones or radios, investing in a public address system, distributing wearable GPS devices to your staff, or keeping track of inventory on a cloud-based software. These systems help you stay connected with warehouse employees, ensuring effective communication and data sharing between departments.
3. Warehouse Time Management
Time management is important in warehouse operations because it ensures greater efficiency, productivity, and profitability. Streamlining your business processes, integrating your supply chain management systems, implementing incentive pay for your employees, promoting continuous process improvements, outsourcing your logistics services, and introducing third-party fulfillment are all great ways to improve time management in your warehouse.
4. Inventory Tracking
Manual inventory tracking systems are error prone and cumbersome to operate. Cloud-based inventory management software and IoT sensors can help you track the real-time location, condition, utilization, handling, and chain of custody for inventory across the globe. You can get accurate, real-time visibility across categories, product types, zones, facilities, and geographies – providing better insights into key metrics such as inventory utilization and warehouse space utilization. You can improve stocking efficiency by knowing and forecasting what inventory you need, where you need it, when you need to stock up, and when you’ll face a shortage.
5. Customer Expectations
Customer demands are rising fast, and they now expect shorter shipping times, 100% order accuracy, and excellent customer service. And when these expectations aren’t met, it can lead to disaster. Accurate inventory can eliminate shortages, delays in fulfillment, and out-of-stocks that can impact customer satisfaction. A cloud-based warehouse and inventory management system with accurate customer data can manage fluctuations in demand through better demand planning, and help you cater to individual customer preferences.
6. Product Picking
Warehouse managers know how important the picking speed is for the bottom line. The more goods you can move through your warehouse, the more revenue you can generate, reduce the cost of stock management per product, and ensure faster deliveries which increases customer satisfaction. Automated barcode scanners can speed up the picking process by avoiding manually data entry and reducing human error. Automated processes and set picking routes also allow you to optimize your warehouse management operations.
7. Incorrect Purchase Orders
Today’s customers not only demand lightning quick speed, but they expect 100% accuracy as well. With customer orders coming from everywhere, it can be difficult to efficiently manage the flow of information. Manual purchase order processing using emails, spreadsheets, and outdated systems hamper the purchase order process and do more harm than good. Using cloud-based software improves information accuracy and many of the common mistakes in labor-intensive processes like purchase orders, invoice processing can be eliminated.