Warehouse efficiency has never been more important than in today’s competitive business landscape. This guest article from UK-based Doity Engineering delves into ten practical strategies that companies can implement to reduce warehousing costs and enhance their overall profitability. From regular maintenance and inventory optimisation to refining processes and cross-training employees, these actionable tips will help your business streamline operations, minimize expenses and make a healthy impact on its bottom line.
Keeping your equipment and machinery well-maintained will mean it is performing efficiently and help to minimise downtime. The best way to make a habit of this is to adopt a regular, mandatory maintenance schedule. Proper maintenance can also save money in the long run on repairs and replacements, ensuring the longevity of your equipment and fostering a safe work environment.
Utilise vertical space
It’s important to use all of the space in your warehouse. Many businesses fail to make use of the vertical space and miss out on warehouse efficiency. A simple way to make the most of your vertical space is by using taller shelves and racks. But often the best solution is investing in a mezzanine floor for your warehouse, providing you with an extra floor that can be used for storage, office space, processing, a showroom – all while ensuring the space below is still functional.
A unique Revlok mezzanine floor from Doity Engineering can create extra space affordably in up to half the time taken to install a traditional mezzanine. Mezzanines are exceptionally versatile spaces that are designed and built to your unique requirements, helping you expand your warehouse without the cost of relocation.
Continuous process improvement
Establish a culture of continuous improvement by regularly reviewing warehouse processes, identifying areas for efficiency gains and implementing necessary changes. Some larger companies will employ process engineers, while other smaller businesses will outsource to a freelancer or simply encourage employees to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. After all, they’re the ones performing the work day-in, day-out.
Upgrade your software
Upgrading your warehouse management system (WMS) to a modern, up-to-date software can be an instant cost saver. Processing orders quicker, managing stock levels more accurately and reducing risks of human error mistakes are just some of the benefits they offer. Many are now able to sync with smartphones and tablets that allow your employees to pick and pack much more efficiently.
Implement just-in-time (JIT) inventory practices
Just-in-time (JIT) inventory is a method of inventory management that relies on precise forecasting and close cooperation with suppliers to reduce the amount of inventory held in the warehouse at any one time. The goal of JIT is to have the exact amount of materials and components needed for production to arrive at the plant just as they are needed, eliminating the need for large stockpiles of inventory. This can lead to significant cost savings, as businesses aren’t paying to store and ensure unnecessary amounts of stock. ,
JIT can be risky for some businesses as any disruption in the supply chain can cause a halt in production, so consider carefully if this is a good idea for your business.
Upgrade to LED Lighting
This might seem simple, but many warehouses still operate on old-fashioned, inefficient lighting. At a time when energy prices are soaring, now is the time to upgrade. LED bulbs are brighter, longer lasting and use much less energy than traditional bulbs, which helps to lower your warehouse’s power consumption.
Automate in every way you can
Implement automated reordering and resupplying systems to generate recurring revenue from loyal customers. By offering discounts for repeat business, you can foster customer loyalty and reduce the costs associated with acquiring new customers. This process will also help you be more precise when forecasting your inventory needs, helping with that JIT inventory process.
Offer Click & Collect
For D2C businesses, leveraging Click & Collect is a smart move. It helps to consolidate multiple orders into a single delivery location, saving time and money. Utilise existing retail outlets or partner with courier services to establish convenient pickup locations for your customers.
Cross-training your staff enables them to handle various tasks, reducing the need for specialised personnel. This makes your workforce more adaptable and helps you better manage your warehouse operations. For example, it can save money on using temp agencies during busy seasons by prioritising certain tasks like order fulfilment at peak periods such as Christmas and Black Friday.
Negotiate better rates with suppliers and vendors
Easier said than done in today’s climate, but putting in a process to regularly review and negotiate contracts with suppliers and vendors to ensure you’re getting the best possible rates can often pay dividends. This involves everything from rent, utilities and telecoms to IT support and uniform suppliers. As the saying goes, every little helps.
Doity is an engineering company specialising in the design, installation and maintenance of mezzanine flooring. Based in North West England, they operate nationally for businesses of all industries and sizes. Find out more about their services or get in touch with the Doity team to discuss how you can make the most of your warehouse space.