To be an effective warehouse manager, you need to know how to get products to flow through your warehouse. However, the real challenge is improving the product flow in your warehouse operations. By following these warehouse management guidelines for circulating products, minimizing handling, and maximizing utilization, you can see an improved product flow, which will be better for your company’s bottom line.
The best way to improve product flow is to get products into and out of your warehouse as quickly as possible. Ideally, you should ensure that the product arrives at the warehouse shortly before shipment or consumption, and that the product gets shipped or sold before payment to your vendor is due. To do this, negotiate payment terms with your vendor that exceed those of your customer, turn your inventory quickly, eliminate processing errors, and make sure you ship your goods on time. All of these product circulation practices should improve your product flow and your operational cash flow.
Minimizing product handling reduces labor cost and product loss, eliminates delays, and improves quality. To manage and minimize the handling of product, you need to deploy the right quantity of product, when and where it is needed. A key factor to this is properly labelling, with clear information on what the product is, how many units there are, and what the cross-docking destination is, if it has one. As a general rule, you should strive to only order quantities of product needed for short-term and immediate use. That way, you won’t have extra product lying around your warehouse, “just in case.” By minimizing product handling in these ways, you can create workflow efficiencies and improve your product flow.
To improve your warehouse product flow, you also need to optimally manage the use of all of your resources, particularly warehouse space, transportation, and labor. Maximize your space utilization by slotting products based on physical characteristics, velocity, and relationships to other products. Coordinate the use of your transportation equipment on inbound and outbound movements, as well as carrying capacity. To amplify your labor utilization, use multitasking where possible and interweave put-away and replenishment tactics. Use these utilization strategies, and you should see improvements to your warehouse product flow.
Of course, these supply chain management guidelines are principles that should be followed generally. As a warehouse manager, you will most effectively improve your product flow by testing these tactics and tweaking them according to your individual warehouse needs. You may need warehouse management software to help you in these endeavors. Use contractERP’s mobile warehousing to improve your warehouse and your product flow.