6 Tips on Improving Warehouse Efficiency and Productivity

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

An efficient and productive warehouse is the heart of every company. It keeps customers happy and saves time and money as the company ships and receives inventory on time.

Article 5 Minutes
6 Tips on Improving Warehouse Efficiency and Productivity

Warehouse efficiency isn’t just about putting everything in its place and getting products out on schedule; it’s about maximizing productivity to create a better working environment, improve the overall customer experience and save as many resources as possible.

Regardless if you have a multi-channel operation or a small warehouse, reviewing your existing processes is crucial in determining where and how you can improve. We’ve listed six tips for improving warehouse efficiency and productivity below.

1.  Leverage warehouse technology

Technology plays a vital role in the success of every warehouse operation, which is why it is essential to take advantage of as many warehouse technology solutions as possible. Ideally, you should start with a cloud-based warehouse management system that can manage your inventory, automate scheduling and accounting and provide real-time data about your business.

One technology solution that can streamline your warehouse operations is using RFID technology for tracking purposes. This enables the warehouse to track a single pallet or item from a shipping source until it reaches the customer’s address.

You can also incorporate mobile-powered headsets and carts to improve the picking and packing process internally. These are cost-effective investments as workers save time and effort from walking back and forth to fulfill orders.

2.  Optimize warehouse layout

The most effective and productive warehouses use the best layouts. However, even well-planned warehouses will be challenging to manage if the workers fail to adhere to the proper procedures. The two should go hand-in-hand to ensure that the warehouse operates at its best.

A good warehouse design should address common operational challenges. For example, you can add an electrically height-adjustable workbench to your warehouse packing stations to ensure that workers are working efficiently and comfortably. This will prevent your workers from doing too much stretching and bending, which can lead to injuries and missed days at work.

You can also change the layout of the warehouse based on sales volume. Access your order reports through your Warehouse Management System or WMS to determine which are the fastest-moving goods and store them near the receiving and shipping areas. In this way, fast-moving goods can flow seamlessly from the receiving dock and be stored in the nearest location.

3.  Improve storage

It’ll be difficult for your warehouse to operate efficiently if it runs out of space. In general, warehouses should never hit 85% of their capacity. But due to poor inventory control methods and obsolete inventory that hog storage space, many warehouses easily get congested.

To improve your warehouse’s storage space, you can:

  • Use vertical space: Instead of neglecting vertical space in your warehouse, use it. Consider adding a mezzanine to your warehouse to improve your flow space. You can also use different types of storage racks to have access to vertical space.
  • Utilize narrow aisles: You can save 20% of your space by narrowing your warehouse aisles to eight feet. Just make sure that your equipment can still operate efficiently before making this change.
  • Get temporary storage: If you experience seasonal surges in your warehouse operations, use temporary solutions, such as trailers. This will improve your warehouse storage fast, without the long-term commitment.

4.  Track inventory

Overstocking items will cost your business money as excess inventory takes up valuable storage space. This can prevent your business from expanding and storing other fast-moving items.

You can prevent this from happening by equipping workers with quality tracking devices to stay on top of the inventory and reduce costs in the long run. These devices make it easier for the business to eliminate excess products and regularly re-slot inventory to accurately reflect customer and market demands.

Additionally, accurate inventory tracking will ensure that you have enough supplies to complete orders for the current and following month. Without a good tracking system in place, products can disappear, resulting in frustrated customers. In short, a tracking system helps your business find the right balance between understocking and overstocking.

5.  Train workers

The money you spend on investing in warehouse technology is wasted if your workers aren’t properly trained to use them in their jobs. Instead of improving efficiency and productivity, these tools will only cause problems, adversely affecting your operations.

Training workers is a must in every warehouse. From managers to forklift drivers, everyone on the team should be properly trained to do their jobs promptly and safely. For starters, managers should know how to effectively manage workers while boosting their morale and providing excellent customer service. On the other hand, workers should feel comfortable asking questions and understanding what is expected from them.

Most importantly, everyone working at the warehouse should understand safety in the workplace as their working environment is dangerous. Research suggests contact with equipment or objects at work is the third leading cause of nonfatal occupational injuries. 

6.  Consult a warehousing expert

Each warehouse requires a made-to-measure solution — don’t expect that the same procedures used by other warehouses will provide the same results when you use them in yours. Therefore, it’s recommended to consult a warehousing expert. This individual has the skills and experience to analyze your logistics and determine the best way to improve warehouse operations.

Consulting a warehousing expert is beneficial, especially if you want to improve your warehouse operations but don’t know where or how to start. With their help, you’ll save plenty of resources from going through several trials and errors to see which strategies work better.

Track your progress

Improving the efficiency and productivity of your warehouse doesn’t happen overnight, so remain patient as you implement the tips mentioned here. Don’t forget to track your progress to see if you’re getting the desired results after making the changes.

Sophie Miller


Sophie is a health and lifestyle writer, focusing on workplace health and wellness.


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