taking inventory in warehouse

 

As the new year rolls around, you probably haven’t gotten many chances to reflect on what worked for your warehouse and staff this year and what didn’t.

Now that the dust has settled from the holiday rush and your returns have (hopefully) stopped piling up, this could be a good time to figure out a plan for the next year. Every warehouse, no matter how effectively it runs or what kind of sales volume it can get, can always be refined and tweaked to keep up with changing customer demands and the shifting world of business as a whole.

While most cases will need to play it by ear, there’s always a few things every warehouse can do to get themselves ready for the coming year and try to make things a little smoother on your staff and your processes. Here’s a few trends to look out for and improvements to consider over the next business year:

 

Better implementation of Goods-to-Person

The current ecommerce reality we live in means that the majority of orders are smaller orders containing multiple SKUs, which can lead to logistical headaches throughout the warehouse in regards to order picking and item placement. By emphasizing Goods-to-Person tracking, you can get a better understanding of what items are moving, what orders they’re typically included in, and what you can do to move them faster. An understanding of your Goods-to-Person count (typically involving the amount of SKUs in a given order) can help you make better use of warehouse shelving to better store everything, gravity conveyors to help move products, and a better idea of what items move most often.

 

Increase and improve tracked metrics

You can’t improve on something you’re not measuring and keeping an eye on. Every warehouse has the usual litany of metrics—sales figures, orders shipped, and the like—but tracking more specific KPIs can help you gain a much better understanding of what needs to be worked on, and when. Do you know your averaged shipped order cost? What about your average price of packing materials (even before shipping costs are factored in)? Speed of handled returns? Take time to set new tracking metrics in whatever your system of choice is and you can find yourself with a much bigger understanding of the way your warehouse works and provide better feedback as needed.

 

Keep working, no matter what

If you’ve been involved with warehousing in recent years, you’ve likely been inundated with new technology, fancy new methods of tracking orders and goods, and so on.

While these are all well and good (and are actually helpful in many cases), they can get a little distracting. In too many cases, warehouse operations are negatively impacted by too much technology implemented at once, or frozen while upper management tries to figure out what to do next. Our best advice to you in this case is just to keep working. Not every new WMS or picking method has to be rolled out all at once, and by maintaining an even keel and keeping your staff focused on the tasks at hand you can make sure everyone stays on task even during new process roll-outs. Don’t get too excited about updates to your systems, and keep everyone working like normal until the time comes to do major training and implementation.

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