How to Reduce the Cost of Your Warehouse Operations

Material Handling

There are several things you can do to ensure measurable success throughout your warehouse. In an economic climate of huge competition but minimum stability, it’s paramount that productivity in the warehouse is increased and that efficiency is improved overall. In turn, this will help to reduce your warehouse costs.

Maximising profit margins is essential for both growth and survival of any business, but it often requires a well-planned, established strategy and usually involves more than giving your employees motivational speeches in a bid to improve productivity. Here are a few other ways in which you can reduce costs and spending throughout your warehouse.

Ensure inventory visibility

As the industry welcomes a new generation of online shoppers and a fresh wave of retail trends and global spending shifts, it’s important that businesses are aware of, and adapt to, the changing world in this respect. However, the aforementioned is often overlooked by company and warehouse owners alike, but this can prove problematic in the long run.

It can lead to frustration when it comes to relying on the memory of employees when locating inventory, especially if stock is located in specific places. This can be made even more difficult during pandemic restrictions, such as social distancing or if employees are absent from work. Unfortunately, businesses that meet these challenges will find that they rapidly lose out compared to companies who rise to such problems.

You need to fully-understand the stock you have available in order to meet customer demand. You also need to make sure that everyone in your warehouse is aware of where those products are and warehouse management systems (WMS) will be able to help you do just that. If you already have a WMS set up, then make sure you use it to your full advantage in this respect.

What are the benefits of inventory visibility?

  • Improved efficiency
  • Increased supply chain transparency
  • Reduced warehouse costs
  • Lower stock-levels
  • Successful demand fulfilment
  • Accurate forecasting

Optimise your storage space & capacity

Optimising the storage space you have throughout your warehouse will mean that you’ll be able to store more inventory. Where this might spell higher initial costs to being with, it should be seen more as an investment. You’ll have more storage capacity to house a wide range of products, increasing the likelihood that you’ll have the very thing your customer base are looking for.

When looking to optimise your warehouse storage, you should consider:

  • Physical structures – look at mezzanine floor construction or warehouse racking implementation to give you fit-for-purpose storage solutions
  • Warehouse flow – how well do products sell? Where are your employees most productive? Redesign your warehouse layout to convey this
  • Product placement – do you have any best-sellers? Make sure these are placed at eye-level and towards the front of warehouse racking to ensure easy access
  • Easy and convenient retrieval methodsVNA forklifts will help to navigate around narrow aisles, as will a multi-directional forklift. Electric forklifts will be ideal for indoor use and diesel forklifts for outdoor operations. LPG forklift trucks can be used both indoors and outside – perfect for those with a warehouse that’s spread across two sites. Order pickers and reach trucks will also make short work of product retrieval from even the highest shelves/racking

Identify cases of workplace theft & work to prevent it

Workplace theft is a major issue for businesses. Where it’s more prominent within some companies, it’s not nearly as problematic for others, but a business owner can never be too careful. Where it’s a common-place issue, it’s not always easy to prevent or even identify. A manager cannot simply accuse their workforce of stealing and so it needs to be handled delicately and strategically.

Where this is a difficult situation to find yourself in as a business owner, it must be dealt with to prevent theft in the future. Loss of stock means loss of money and so you’ll soon find yourself struggling financially. Below are some of the ways in which you can identify cases of workplace theft and how you can prevent it:

How to identify & prevent employee theft in your warehouse

  • Check that your stock levels coincide with sales records
  • Identify any dips in sales where certain staff members are present
  • Stock being left, frequently, in the wrong location is often a sign of employee theft although, sometimes, it can be down to human error
  • Look to see if any invoices are missing
  • Take the time to listen to your staff members – are there rumours circulating that could mean employee theft is occurring in the workplace?
  • Don’t ignore red flags, especially if there are more than one (previously mentioned)
  • Make sure to perform stock takes on a regular basis
  • Keep management prominent and visible throughout the warehouse
  • Raise awareness of employee theft and its effects
  • Have CCTV installed throughout as a deterrent and also to ascertain solid, undeniable evidence for disciplinary reasons

But why do employees feel the need to commit theft in the workplace?

  • They could be battling with personal, difficult financial situations
  • They feel a sense of entitlement
  • They might not feel as though they’re being paid the right amount
  • They might not feel valued enough in the workplace
  • They’re frustrated with their work life
  • They’re opportunistic

Improve order picking processes

Picking processes can be improved by placing products in the right place and making everyone aware of their location. Best-selling items, as previously mentioned, should be placed at the front of racking and at eye-level. They should be easy to access without the need of a material handling machine, such as an order picker or a reach truck.

The items that don’t sell as well can be placed higher up on warehouse racking or stored tidily under mezzanine floors.You might well need a machine to retrieve the items that are stored at a high level and the machines themselves can incur high initial costs, but opting for used warehouse equipment over brand new machines can help you to save a considerable sum.

Opt for used warehouse equipment over new machines

As previously mentioned, used forklifts, refurbished reach trucks, second-hand order pickers and reconditioned pallet trucks are all viable alternatives to buying equipment that’s brand new. You’ll be able to pick up everything you need from us here at Refurbished Forklifts, all for a reasonable price in comparison to new pieces of warehouse equipment. This can help to cut costs before your operations even commence.

Refurbished Forklifts have a wide range of used material handling equipment available. Regardless of your budget or the industry you work in, we’ll have a solution that’ll seamlessly meet your needs and requirements. For more information about how we can help you today, get in touch with a member of our specialist team today – we’re always happy to hear from you.

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