Warehouses are full of inventory. They can hold various items for months, and as a result of this, they need to be managed. Warehouse management is essential when it comes to running a warehouse efficiently. If there is no management in place, items can get misplaced, broken or lost. Furthermore, employees can make mistakes or not know what they’re doing, and the whole warehouse can be a mess. This is not ideal for any business and can actually cause quite a few problems. Luckily, there are a few things every warehouse can do to ensure everything is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
When discussing warehouse management, there are a lot of different branches to consider. A warehouse management system is designed to manage the inventory in the warehouse, staffing in the warehouse, as well as the organisation of a warehouse. Depending on the size of a warehouse, this is a lot to work with.
One of the main things a warehouse manager can do is divide the warehouse into different sections or zones. These zones can be at the discretion of the warehouse manager, but standard zones are usually receiving zones, staging zones, and storage zones. Within these zones, there can then be smaller departments if needed.
The receiving zone is designed for incoming inventory. At this zone, vans can be unloaded, and boxes can be unpacked. As each item is taken from transport and put into the warehouse, they can be scanned and added to the warehouse inventory list. This can be done with an inventory scanner system. With a scanning system, each item or box can be registered with the inventory, but each item can also be given a specific barcode, making it easy to track when it’s in the storage zones. This zone is also ideal for removing extra packaging, like pallets or plastic wrap, keeping the warehouse floor tidy and organised.
The staging zone is a mixed zone. It can be used for packing items or quality control. Essentially, it depends on what kind of inventory is in the warehouse, but it can have other purposes. Ideally, this space is designed for items that are not new and have been pulled from the storage zones. This eases the amount of foot traffic on the warehouse floor and ensures that each task is given the attention it deserves. For example, if items need to be picked and shipped to a customer, a packing station would be ideal. Each item can be treated with care, and when preparing for shipping, suitable materials can be used. This saves warehouse staff from walking about trying to find the suitable materials and keeps the place organised.
The storage zone is perhaps the most important zone of them all. This is where all of the inventory will be kept. If a warehouse is using an inventory scanner system, it’ll be far easier to track and store inventory as barcodes can be scanned with ease. An internal system can then log each item at the exact time and location it was scanned. This makes it easy for floor pickers to find an item and take it to the staging zone. It also makes the warehouse more efficient as resources are not being wasted looking for items. Within this zone, depending on warehouse size, it can split up into smaller sections. This is so pickers can batch pick from different areas rather than picking single items to take to the staging area.
Aside from splitting the warehouse, another thing that can be done is auditing the warehouse. With the inventory scanner, it’s effortless to track inventory and see what time it’s being picked and where it’s being picked from. As a result of this, it’s easy to audit the warehouse and make amendments. If it’s taking too long to pick a best-selling item, it can be moved to somewhere more accessible. This type of information will likely only be recorded with a tracking system, so they’re well worth the investment.