Manufacturing and distribution companies are constantly challenged to improve the quality and delivery of their products, in addition to improving service to their customers. As businesses continue to grow and change, executives need to keep a close eye on the operational efficiency of the company. By closely examining operational capabilities as they relate to the changing environment, companies can find ways to improve their efficiency and profit.
Environmental challenges can be presented in a number of ways: a new generation of ownership, acquiring new customers with complex requirements or adding new channels (such as retail, Internet or distribution). In order to ease the challenges brought on by these changes, companies need to reevaluate their warehouse processes and find ways to increase efficiency. The first step to improving warehouse efficiency should be focused on improving your supply chain. The following tips were designed to help you reach maximum efficiency through supply chain management.
1. Choose a supply chain solution that was designed for your industry.
Options are plentiful where business management software is concerned. With hundreds of off-the-shelf supply chain software solutions available, companies can now choose a package designed for their specific industry and customize the software so that it integrates with any existing system effortlessly. Before you go out and buy a supply chain solution, make sure to do your research. Only consider solutions tailored to your industry. Don’t worry about it meeting every single one of your needs; if it meets the majority of your company’s needs, you can always get it customized.
In order to improve warehouse efficiency, companies must have the right tools to do so. A supply chain solution will capture data in real-time at a warehouse level, giving executives the information they need to make better decisions.
2. Show your employees the whole picture.
Employees are essential if you wish to improve warehouse efficiency. Give your employees greater visibility by showing them how their work affects your customers. Create reports and metrics programs that show employees how every step of the manufacturing process works toward creating the final product. If they can see how their work impacts the customers’ needs and meets the company’s objectives, they will be more driven to commit their time and effort to improving overall warehouse efficiency.
3. Manage information rather than relying on information management tools.
Supply chain management solutions and warehouse management software should facilitate the proper collection and identification of data to allow for rapid decisions to be made. Software users should be able to easily collect relevant information that aligns with the business’ objectives. Once the proper information is collected, users must create reports to give to executives within the organizations (or ensure that the information is accessible to key people within the organization).
4. Implement tracking and mobile technologies.
New technology leaves manufacturing companies with no excuse where the area of warehouse efficiency is concerned. Many new tracking and mobile technologies improve warehouse efficiency, minimize costs and reduce inaccuracies. Mobile options for ERP and CRM, warehouse automation systems and warehouse management systems can be implemented to help track important data that might otherwise be missing. Companies should also consider implementing barcoding technology to help improve warehouse efficiency.
5. Reorganize the warehouse.
Companies wishing to improve inventory control should review the organization of their warehouse at least once a year to ensure maximum productivity. While a certain setup may have worked wonderfully at one point in time, it could now be unnecessary or a stumbling block to the production process. New product lines and added inventory are probably not stored in a way that encourages warehouse efficiency. By going into the warehouse and reorganizing everything, you can create a better setup that will improve warehouse efficiency.
Proper supply chain management is just one method used to improve warehouse efficiency. Download our whitepaper, “Warehousing: the Foundation of Distributor Profitability” to discover more methods for improving your company’s warehouse efficiency and, ultimately, profitability.