There are 9.1 billion square feet of warehouse space in the United States. But all of that storage space is in high demand, which means renting warehouse space can get expensive.
So it is imperative that you optimize the use of your warehouse — that way, your inventory storage is optimized for the most efficient process.
When was the last time you evaluated how your warehouse and inventory storage? We have eight tips to help you manage your warehouse efficiently.
1. Reevaluate Your Warehouse Design
Take a look at the layout of your warehouse. It should facilitate a smooth process and flow of your receiving, storage, and pull and packing.
If your warehouse is cramped or congested, then the flow of traffic will get bogged down in the areas that bottleneck. This is wasted time and lost opportunity cost.
You should reevaluate your warehouse layout every time you grow in sales. Increased sales mean increased inventory. You need increased warehouse space to accommodate your growth.
When evaluating your current warehouse layout, ask yourself these questions.
- Do my employees have enough room to do their job?
- How long has it been since you last updated your layout?
- Does the current layout utilize the space efficiently?
- Has there been an increase in sales recently?
2. Organize Your SKUs Better
Take a look at how your warehouse is organized. You may find that it is better to move some products around.
You can group products together based on size, season, or velocity. Some companies find it helpful to group products that are ordered together. This reduces the amount of time it takes for employees to pull and pack orders.
Another option is to organize your SKUs based on order volume. You’d want to put your high volume SKUs nearest to the shipping areas. This will reduce the processing times for the majority of your orders.
This method also lets you practice lean inventory practices. To do this, you track and identify slow-moving SKUs. Then you eliminate them to reduce your inventory levels and focus on profitable SKUs.
3. Involve Your Employees
Your employees are the ones who work in the warehouse every day. They are the best ones to know what is working and what is not working.
Empower your staff to be creative and innovative. Encourage them to come to you with ideas and suggestions.
When you do implement a new process or system, be sure to schedule a time to train your staff. You need to educate your team so that they can efficiently use new technology.
4. Start Using Technology
Use warehouse management software (WMS) to monitor your inventory locations and volume. You can integrate your system into your other company software.
This will enable you to monitor your inventory levels better. You can also decrease shrinkage and mitigate demand volatility.
Now you can forecast inventory demand and stock your warehouse based on historical sales numbers.
5. Automate Everything
Take a look at the tasks you still do by hand. This is time you could spend doing other things. Look into technology that lets you automate your tasks.
You can find software that automates data collection, scanning, barcoding, inventory tracking, shipping, and so much more.
With an automated system in place, you’ll find it easier to scale larger. It will be easier to increase volume since you have a system in place and you aren’t limited by the number of hours you can work.
Automation also reduces the amount of human error. Now your entire process will be more efficient since you aren’t having to backtrack and fix the mistakes that were made.
Don’t implement your technology and then forget about it. You need to regularly evaluate your technology and automation and make sure it still meets your needs.
6. Utilize Your Vertical Space
Your warehouse space is precious and can be quite expensive, so take advantage of the vertical space. Products that are less in demand can be placed higher up in the warehouse.
Or you could use the higher up storage space for your incoming inventory. Then move it down as you sell your inventory.
7. Leave the Warehousing to the Pros
One warehouse strategy is to leave it to the pros. It can be time-consuming to do all of the tips we’ve mentioned up to this point.
So instead of spending your time optimizing your warehouse, let the professionals do it. Work with a logistics provider that offers warehousing services.
They can offer short and long term storage. They can pull, pack, and ship your inventory. Some can even provide barcode tracking services and remote user access.
By letting the professionals take care of your warehousing, you can scale the amount of space you need up and down more readily. This will save you a significant amount of money if your product line is heavy on seasonal products.
You will also save money by not having to buy inventory or warehouse software. You also won’t have to hire and train staff to run the warehouse.
8. Minimize Loss Prevention
Implement procedures that will prevent your inventory from becoming damaged or lost. This means using an accurate tracking system. If you can, barcode each individual product.
If theft is an issue, then you need to look at moving your inventory to a more secure warehouse. If this is not possible, then look into a security system.
Optimize Your Inventory Storage
By implementing these tips, you can optimize your warehouse so that your systems are streamlined. That way, you can focus on other areas of your business and know that your inventory storage is on point.
Having streamlined systems means that your business is poised for growth. It also means you aren’t wasting money on your supply chain and inventory management.
Contact us today and let us help you optimize your warehousing.