Avoiding Common Pitfalls: Mistakes to Steer Clear of in Warehouse Storage Management

Warehouse storage management is an essential aspect of effective inventory management. When implemented correctly, it can help to improve workflow and save money by preventing waste and inefficiency.

However, when appropriately handled, good warehouse storage management can increase supply chain costs and safety issues. Avoid these common pitfalls to ensure the effectiveness of your warehouse storage.

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Failing to Plan

The reality is that there needs to be more than a one-size-fits-all approach to warehouse storage management. Effective methods depend on the nature of your supply chain, your company’s culture, and staff needs. However, many common warehousing mistakes can negatively impact warehouse efficiency and cost your business.

The biggest mistake that many warehouses make is not adequately planning for future growth. Suppose you evaluate your processes. In that case, regularly, you may find that what worked in the past will only work in the present, especially when your business experiences an unexpected increase in demand.

Another mistake many warehouses need to make is to optimize picking paths, such as grouping popular products and keeping the dispatch area close to the storage area. This leads to higher labor costs and a slower turnaround time for orders.

Failing to Set Goals

Warehouses are complex elements of a business that have a crucial impact on costs, efficiency, and effectiveness. It’s unrealistic to expect that these critical areas of a company will be free from mistakes, but it is possible to learn from them and prevent them from happening again.

Messy warehouses are not only a safety hazard but also disrupt workflow by distracting staff from processing customer orders. To address this issue, warehouse managers should prioritize establishing housekeeping routines and schedule clean-up time at the end of each shift.

Optimizing warehousing storage requires considering storage capacity, aisle widths, shipping and receiving times, and other factors to ensure that operations run smoothly with the limited floor space available.

Failing to Monitor

Warehouse operations are complicated, and errors occur frequently, especially in large warehouses. These errors can affect an entire warehouse operation’s speed, efficiency, and productivity. Fortunately, these mistakes can be avoided with the proper knowledge and awareness.

For example, one common mistake is storing too much inventory. Many merchants stock up when order velocity is high and fail to notice when that rate slows down, leading them to have extra stock on hand.

Another issue is failing to conduct regular physical counts of inventory. While warehouse inventory management software can help, this is not a replacement for taking a physical count of your entire warehouse at least once a year. This will help you keep track of theft and other unreported breakage. It will also help you stay in compliance with regulations.

Failing to Invest in Technology

Warehouse storage management is essential to efficient supply chain operations but doesn’t necessarily require substantial capital investments or sophisticated technology. It often requires a willingness to look for opportunities to implement efficiency gains that can be achieved without incurring significant upfront costs.

Often, warehouse managers cling doggedly to inefficient paper-based processes that generate a lot of redundancies and slow down the process. The right WMS can streamline the process by eliminating paperwork and allowing for more efficient gathering routes.

Another common mistake is failing to review dock-to-stock cycle times regularly. This should be a priority since dock-to-stock time is one of the most commonly used warehouse success metrics. It can be accomplished using a warehouse management system and regular physical inspections to assess dock, storage, packaging, and shipping lanes.

Failing to Prioritize Safety

It’s important to keep safety front and center in warehousing. Injuries — even minor ones that prevent staff from moving around the warehouse quickly and efficiently — cause lost productivity and higher compensation costs for workers.

Warehouse managers should ensure their facilities are up to code and that employees receive regular health and safety training. Providing them with tools, such as warehouse safety barriers and rack safety equipment, is also a good idea to help prevent accidents and injuries.

Incorrectly storing items can also create fire hazards and chemical spills. Having separate areas for outgoing stock and incoming products, as well as shipping and receiving, helps reduce confusion and allows workflows to flow more smoothly. It’s also vital to establish clear guidelines for warehouse staff regarding handling and stacking products to minimize accidents.

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