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A warehouse manager’s work is never done.

From food storage to retail goods, from lengthy shipments around the world to overnight deliveries in neighboring suburbs, warehouses have a lot of work they need to do. And with that work can come a number of issues, challenges, and management difficulties that need to be overcome to help keep your products flowing smoothly and your customers happy.

While it may feel like these challenges are never ending, it might help to learn you’re not alone – and, in fact, there’s several issues that every warehouse manager can run into during their time on the job, no matter what products their warehouse deals in, or what their job entails.

Here’s five issues every warehouse manager is going to run into, and what you can do to make it easier on you and your team:

Inventory Accuracy

We’ve all been there: some popular item that shows up as available in your system is nowhere to be found, a shipment didn’t get added to your total inventory correctly, or maybe there’s some dusty old shelf in the back that always gets overlooked during counts.

There’s a few solutions to this, and all of them can help your warehouse function more smoothly overall. Your warehouse shelves could be better arranged to focus on the items that need to be counted most frequently or that produce the most errors. You could shorten the time between counts by moving to a cycle-counting method that can identify errors more quickly. Additionally, you could create an area for inventory discrepancies – by setting up some wire shelving or other spare shelves, you can store batches of products with a missing item, or items on your shelves that shouldn’t be there, away from the general population to avoid miscounts.

Warehouse Layout

Designing a functional, efficient warehouse layout is a double-edged sword. The right warehouse needs to have a lot of storage for any items it could potentially be storing, but it also needs to plan for traffic shifts throughout the facility to make sure everyone can reach their destinations without accident or delay. Plan your warehouse so that the items follow a logical path – small items in front, larger items to the back, sorted from top-to-bottom on your pallet racking to help the most popular items stay close at hand. (Make sure to keep an eye out for cables that stretch across the floor too!)

Product Diversification

We’re not saying you suddenly need to get into food storage if you’re a warehouse that sells consumer goods, but many warehouses need to deal with a wide range of products that can sometimes catch them off guard. Many warehouses operate on the 80/20 rule, in that 20% of the overall inventory generates 80% of sales, and that gives you plenty of opportunity to review what’s being sold and what your customers are starting to expect from you.

Issues With Picking

Picking is arguably one of the most important roles being performed inside a warehouse. Without a sound picking strategy, your customers won’t get their items on time (or correctly), and that can lead to lost sales and dissatisfied customers. Focus on resolving any potential issues with your picking methods as they arrive – are some items in the wrong place? Do you need tools like gravity conveyors to get items through the warehouse more quickly? Do certain items always come up with an error when the time comes to process and ship orders? Focus on correcting picking issues as they come up to make sure they don’t worsen down the road.

Communication

With as many moving parts as the typical logistics path involves, communication is key. Make sure all of the parts of your logistics process, from the initial shipment to your on-site staff, and even to your customer, is kept in the loop of every part of the order’s lifespan to ensure it gets safely to its destination at the end of the day.

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