Warehouse Management

5 Ways to Run a Leaner Warehouse

September 18, 2017 | By Brian Fischer

5 Ways to Run a Leaner Warehouse

In the vending industry, bringing operational costs down is one of the best ways you can improve margins, and what better place to show you mean business than your own warehouse. Vending machine operators are starting to become aware of how a lean warehouse can deliver margin gains in the long run.

Some have already integrated their warehouse stock with the demand supply equation, while some are in the process of gaining visibility into what constitutes an ideal warehouse operation. While inventory management is just one piece of the puzzle, there are several components, such as space management, that are often overlooked. We understand how busy vending operations are and that assessing the efficiency of your warehouse may not be your number one priority. To get you started on your way to a leaner, more efficient warehouse, we’ve compiled a list of five ways that are sure to have a big impact on your operations.

  1. Just in Time Inventory and Safety Stock: How much stock you hold at any point in your warehouse directly impacts your overhead costs. You can bring down the inventory levels in your warehouse by streamlining your supply process. Create alignment with your suppliers to receive stocks for supply, up to three days before the actual delivery date. This ensures that you don’t pile up huge quantities of stock you don’t need to deliver for several weeks. At the same time, don’t forget to compute how much safety stock you need to maintain if you were to service your customers at the same pace as you currently do.
  2. Dynamic Purchase Orders: Create dynamic purchase orders by linking your demand forecasts to the order quantities placed with suppliers. By doing this you ensure that your current sales trends reflect accurately in the orders placed. This will also protect you from any inventory imbalances you may create if you order manually. Use the right technology that helps predict demand accurately, and only order what is needed.
  3. Visual Cues: Use effective visual cues to get your warehouse staff to take timeline action. For example, use yellow tape on cartons that have products with a shorter shelf life and that need to be used first. This will help reduce product write-offs that happen due to expired goods. Visual management in the facility enables team members to see, know, and act as a group. Using a tool like lightspeed can greatly improve your picking time and the efficiency of your warehouse staff.
  4. Inventory Management: Clear visibility and accurate information about the existing inventory in the warehouse impacts the preparation of orders and delivering them to the right customer at the right time. Inventory accuracy improvements due to optimization and the linking of ordering, data entry and inventory management processes will result in reduced inventory requirements. Most vending operators see a reduction of 40% to 60% of inventory required when they put these processes in place.
  5. Warehouse Layout: Using the warehouse space efficiently not only helps bring about a leaner warehouse but also greatly improves inventory visibility. You can improve picking productivity by storing fast moving inventory in the front of the warehouse. Optimizing the warehouse layout can reduce storage times by more than 25% and picking times by 30%. Space optimization also helps to improve the ease with which your warehouse staff functions, resulting in greater productivity and a more efficient warehouse overall.

If you’d like to take the next step toward making your warehouse operations more efficient, improving inventory visibility and stocking just the right skus, learn about Seed Office and how it can help your operation.

Author

Brian Fischer

Vice President of Sales

Helping people by delivering software solutions to better their business, is at the core of what makes Brian a great sales leader. With 13+ years in unattended retail, Brian has led the charge for ensuring that the industry understands the importance of technology to achieve true business optimization. He is actively involved in state associations and industry conferences such as NAMA.

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