Signs You’re Managing Your Warehouses Correctly
Is your warehouse operating as intended? The importance of managing your warehouse properly and making sure it’s always in first-rate condition is absolute. Every tool, shelf, freezer, and all equipment should work at tip-top performance and within mandated specs.
If you’re in industries that answer to the FDA or other related agencies, your warehouse should meet even more stringent regulatory requirements. Even minor issues in the warehouse can lead to substantial regulatory violations, disruptive audits, and financial losses — and potentially jeopardize the safety of products being warehoused and personnel working there.
We get it: managing a warehouse can be incredibly challenging, particularly during busy hours and peak season. As a warehouse manager, you are in charge of keeping tabs on inventory, ensuring efficient workflow, and maintaining overall safety.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, it’s often easy to spot a well-managed warehouse that’ll ace audits. Let’s give you some peace of mind by detailing a few signs you’re doing warehouse management right.
You Have Good Security in Place
Warehouse theft is a real issue across all industries, from manufacturing and retail to food and even pharmaceuticals. Whether it’s happening internally or executed by external actors, warehouse theft costs businesses billions of dollars each year. The trouble is that sometimes it can take weeks, if not months to realize that some items have been stolen from the warehouse.
Whereas a combination of cycle counts and stock takes will help you accurately audit your inventory so you can spot missing items, you need to go the extra mile to identify and prevent warehouse theft. Inevitably, having great security in place will help curb this problem and ensure that you’ve got eyes on your warehouse 24/7, 365 days a year.
Good warehouse security is a blend of diligent, well-trained personnel, the latest surveillance systems (CCTVs, motion detectors, etc.), perimeter protection, and trackers like RFID tags. You may also want to install warehouse access control and have an emergency response plan in motion.
Aside from deterring theft and preventing damage to warehoused goods and equipment, having excellent warehouse security in place can result in many other benefits:
- It creates a sense of safety and well-being around the warehouse. Knowing that the warehouse is secure has a calming effect on workers and management.
- It sets up the warehouse for proper and timely response in the event of emergencies. CCTV and professional security will come in handy during emergencies like floods, gas leaks, fire, or assaults.
- It helps protect warehouse workers, equipment, and guests. The security personnel and the surveillance system are there to keep them safe.
A warehouse is, no doubt, home to expensive inventory and equipment, but you also need to protect the people and the property itself. Investing in all-around and reliable security could be the difference between a well-managed, frictionless warehouse and costly theft or chaos.
You Monitor Environmental Conditions
While putting well-rounded security in place helps deter theft and ensure that the warehouse is physically secure, there’s much more to watch over. What about the temperature, humidity, contamination, and other environmental conditions in the warehouse? That’s exactly why forward-thinking warehouses have environmental monitoring systems in place, too.
Environmental monitoring involves the gathering of environmental data (here think pressure, humidity, temp., etc.) over time and checking for deviations that could jeopardize the safety or quality of the products in the warehouse. This may not be a big deal for clothing warehouses, but it’s a different story for those meat storage facilities. As Dickson mentions here, environmental monitoring is crucial for regulated industries.
Warehouses that are acing environmental monitoring often follow industry best practices such as:
Aligning environmental monitoring efforts internally: this means that the warehouse should have a designated team or leader for this specific purpose. More than that, they should define clear warehouse monitoring goals and have a dedicated budget.
Using proper monitoring tools: Installing the latest data loggers, for example, will result in the best outcomes of ensuring product quality and safety. Replaceable sensors, on their end, will ensure a more efficient calibration process. Those who take advantage of cloud-based environmental monitoring systems will enjoy round-the-clock remote access to data, personalized reporting, and on-the-fly alerts.
Good warehouse managers also adhere to proper environmental monitoring protocols and techniques to limit errors and ensure efficiency and compliance.
Your Personnel Are Well-Trained
Warehouses are inherently busy and there are so many procedures to be followed for safe, efficient workflow and to prevent mishaps. A highly productive warehouse often comes down to a few key factors – proper packaging, great storage methodology, proper shelving, optimized layout, and well-trained personnel. If you think about it, the last one determines the success of all the other factors.
Well-trained warehouse employees can go the extra distance to ensure that the warehouse works as intended. Remember, the chief aim of any warehouse is to ramp up efficiency, ensure safety for everyone, and lower operational costs. You can count on competent warehouse staff to help you work towards achieving these goals in the most painless way.
Well-trained and qualified employees are crucial to maintaining appropriate warehouse operations. They do a bang-up job without increasing risk for costly accidents, damage, and other mishaps. When all’s said and done, productive warehouse personnel will increase the company’s competitive edge and reduce costs.
You Track and Store Data Well
Gone are the days when warehouses used paper records to track and manage inventory. Today, the best companies use robust warehouse management systems to track and store data on a variety of key data points, from inventory control and shipments to equipment maintenance and labor. Using software to manage warehouse data well is beneficial in a variety of ways:
- Capturing real-time data enhances inventory visibility and traceability which, in turn, helps with demand forecasts
- Analyzing warehouse data helps managers figure out where to place certain items or equipment to optimize efficiency and inventory flow
- It improves security and helps fish out discrepancies in inventory
Also, proper data management plays an important role in helping warehouses improve workforce management, billing management, and customer/supplier relations.
As you can see, there’s a lot to improving warehouse operation efficiency. Particular attention should be paid to security, data management, environmental monitoring, and personnel training, to ensure safety, efficiency, and cost reduction.