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How to improve your warehouse logistics as your business grows

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by Startacus Admin

warehouse logistics
As your business grows, your supply chain needs to keep up with increased demand. In this article, Jess Penny from Penny Hydraulics takes a closer look at the best ways to improve the logistics in your warehouse.

If you really want to capitalise on your business's growth, your warehouse needs to be able to keep pace. Having a clear plan for improving your logistics will allow you to ensure your supply chain does not get bogged down with a backlog or begin to cost you too much money, and this process begins with your warehouse's performance.

When improving the efficiency of your warehouse, you'll need to identify which areas can be enhanced and introduce change in a measured way that doesn't cause confusion among staff and suppliers. To help you out, I've listed a few ways that you can improve the logistics in your warehouse and enhance your business's growth below.

Choose the right warehouse management system

An effective warehouse management system (WMS) will be the beating heart of your logistics operation, allowing you to effectively plan and manage scheduling, staffing, and inventory, among many other processes. They're especially important for start-ups who employ a multi-channel strategy, as they allow you to keep track of everything in one software package.

With this in mind, it's critical that you choose a WMS that works for your business, and there are a few essential criteria to consider. For example, you will need to select one that is easy to use to minimise time required for staff training and, in turn, down time in your warehouse. A WMS that has the capacity to produce metric reports is also desirable, as this will allow you to evaluate data and look for other areas of your operation you could improve.

To get started, I would recommend that you look at Software Advice's round up of the best WMS systems on the market. Then, you can compare their features and get an insight into how they work.

Warehouse logistics

Consider upgrading your machinery

As your start-up grows, you may need to move to a larger warehouse premises, which might take longer for your staff to navigate. Alternatively, you might remain in the same storage facility and end up looking for ways that you can speed-up your operation and boost its efficiency. Either way, by investing in machinery or upgrading your current equipment, your staff may be able to up their productivity levels to match the demands of your supply chain.

Having the latest manual handling machinery on hand will allow your workforce to pick and transport stock more quickly. For instance, a mezzanine lift can remove the need to carry goods up and down stairs between ground level and mezzanine floors, and a hydraulic loading platform installed on a delivery pick-up or van can increase the amount that can be transferred to the vehicle  in one go. All of these upgrades will go some way towards ensuring you can hit your targets, please your clients, and continue to successfully grow your business.

Review the layout of your warehouse

With the increased demand for your products, there will come the time when you need to review the layout of your warehouse. Sticking to a rigid plan for storage that has worked in the past has the potential to add unnecessary minutes to your logistics operation. When your stock levels increase, or you invest in new machinery, the same layout is not always the best option, and you should always be looking for ways to improve things in the name of efficiency.

For example, if you analyse your orders and find that there are items that are often purchased together, it's worth seeing if you can move them closer in your warehouse to aid your stock pickers. Likewise, if you designate an area for deliveries to be stored temporarily near to loading bays, your delivery drivers can minimise turnaround time between pick-ups and drop-offs without having to wait for stock to be moved to its proper storage area. These are just two examples of ways you could reorganise your warehouse for maximum efficiency.

Take my advice on board and you will be able to match the logistics side of your start-up with the rate that it's growing. Just remember to give staff time to adjust before making too many changes, as this can work against what you're trying to achieve. With sensible, measured steps, you can increase productivity in your warehouse.

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Published on: 22nd February 2018

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