A warehouse is little more than a large storage space without exemplary leadership, a strong team, and a plan for success. Optimizing a warehouse takes time and hard work. Understanding warehouse efficiency and how to improve it is the goal of every warehouse owner. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a difficult task with enough care and attention to detail. 

Perfect Inventory Management

A warehouse operating at the best efficiency begins and ends with an orderly inventory. Having items in stock isn’t enough. A well-run facility must have the tools and technology to support the work of the team. Namely, you must carefully manage the inventory. The correct types and amounts of items must come in and go out according to the needs of customer orders.

Finally, the inventory must be both accessible and meet all safety protocols. You must keep electronic inventory management devices and systems charged, up to date, and accurate as well. Any changes to the inventory must always appear in the system to ensure items don’t become lost.

Maintain Essential Equipment With Care

A key element to understanding warehouse efficiency and how to improve it is to keep close tabs on the necessary tools. The machinery you use to move merchandise must be in working order. Keep all forklifts charged and routinely assess their batteries. You should swap out batteries that aren’t up to snuff for new ones well before they have a chance to quit mid-shift and cause any problems. Palette jacks need a predictable space to park so that workers can find them each day quickly. Finally, there need to be enough hands tools, such as gloves and box cutters, for every team member, with extras to spare.

Build a Precision Pick Path

Ultimately, the success of a warehouse comes down to the pick path. It’s impossible to expect to fill orders promptly if this element is in disarray. A messy pick path causes tasks like finding items, packaging things, and sending out orders to grind to a halt. It can even cause problems with traffic flow and frustration if employees must crisscross from station to station to fill orders. Making a pick path smooth takes time and requires close observation. You must pay attention to the available room, employees, and general layout of the facility to determine how to arrange the various stations best.

Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.