6 strategic warehousing tips for every distributor
Seeing that warehouses are central to any distributorship’s success, it is recommended that you have great warehousing tips at your disposal. Staying organised pays huge dividends. Especially if it’s an investment in best practices in warehouse effective management will definitely return manifold returns. As a distributor or a sub distributor, basic warehousing management tips will go a long way to help you stay on top of your warehouse operations.
Below are some warehouse management tips that will help you stay on top of the game.
#1. Planning for warehouse space
You’ve probably heard the saying, ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, or the 5-Ps, ‘ poor planning precedes poor performance’. Well, as cliché as they may sound, they’re a fact. One of the most unfortunate and recurring trends in the real estate world, is the tendency to neglect space planning. Do not fail to recognize the importance of laying out your warehousing operations in the early stages of acquiring the place.
How you’ll layout your warehouse space depends on how you’ll use your warehouse. Every inch of the warehouse needs to be planned to maximize storage space. This is one of the best warehouse management practices that can easily be implemented without much costs for you. The space has to be organized in such a way that allows for smooth and quick carrying of your goods and merchandise.
Here are some useful tips to keep in mind when planning your warehouse space.
- Have a warehouse layout and use current warehouse operations to determine the ideal layout for the space
- Enlist the help of an expert to do a walk through of the space, in order to visualize what an optimized warehouse storage solution will look like
- Stay on top of the current building codes and standards, or work with someone who is familiar with all these.
#2. Training your staff
The major reason why most warehouse management systems fail to reach their full potential is because of the users; and in this case; these are the laborers or your members of staff. Most labourers are unaware of the features present for inventory control and some don’t even know how to effectively manage the warehouse. It is absolutely pointless if you have an ultra organised warehouse if your staff mess it up on a daily basis. Make sure that all of your staff members are adequately trained in your picking process and in terms of how your warehouse management system works. Periodical training and induction programs will go a long way to reduce the drag that could hamper your warehouse management efficiency.
You know you have to ensure that your customers get to receive the proper, undamaged products in the appropriate time. So your distributorship business must employ and train efficient warehouse staff.
Use the following tips when training staff.
- Ensure a form of measurement is in place
- Set goals for all your warehouse staff
- Conduct easy-to-understand training.
- Provide feedback, coaching and motivation along the way
- Reevaluate on an ongoing basis.
The efficiency of your warehouse will depend largely on workforce; so take note. Proper training will go a long way in making sure that your warehouse is working as it should.
#3. Planned storage
Obviously, not all your inventory is going to be the same size, the same weight or the same shape. So you’re not going to need store equal quantities of everything you stock. For example, if you only sell ten doors a year, you won’t need to take up a huge space to store these. By investing in a range of warehousing racking systems, you can store your inventory wisely and use your warehouse space more productively.
#4. Make use of vertical height.
Seeing as space in your warehouse is at a premium, this is a perfect reason to make use of the vertical space that you have available. By installing the right warehouse racking systems, you can easily double or even triple the amount of storage space you have available. What you have to do now, is plan how to pack the shelves based on some of the tips above. Products that you sell hundreds of each week are easier to pick accurately if they are located at a waist-to-shoulder height. This height also ensures that your workers won’t require additional equipments such as step ladders, a fork lift truck etc to get to the product.
#5. Establish safety standards
Warehouses are typically infamous for their injury rates, and most of the accidents in warehouses are actually as a result of lack of employee training and awareness. So make sure that your warehouse is being marked with safety protocols, including use of self protective gear etc. When it comes to warehouse safety, there seems to be many benefits and consequences which are usually overlooked. So many businesses simply disregard safety procedures, sometimes due to lack of sufficient time, inadequate resources, or simply the opportunity to cut corners in an attempt to save money. But it is much more better to observe safety standards than to suffer unnecessary negative consequences such as, injury, workplace disruptions, absenteeism, and even death.
Here are a few safety tips to help keep your warehouse safe.
- Ensure safety equipment is used at all times
- Eliminate all potential safety hazards. Make sure that your floors are free of ‘slip and trip’ hazards.
- Always use safe lifting techniques
- Provide training and refresher courses for your staff
- Promote awareness in your warehouse.
Safety should always be a priority in your business.
#6. Forecast inventory procurement
You should be able to determine your inventory demands based on historical trends. It doesn’t make sense to overstock your warehouse or to hoard inventory throughout the year unless there is regular demand. Your stock levels should be maintained at optimum levels, ideally 1.5 times the average use, so as to avoid blocking your working capital. It’s in your best interest to be able to determine the projected demand for certain products and proceed to stock based on that data; this way you can easily avoid unnecessary overstocking.
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