Whether you run a small local business or an international conglomerate, if you store or ship goods, your warehouse is the backbone of your enterprise. When your warehouse isn’t functioning at 100%, neither is your business. Here are four common problems many companies experience with their warehouses and some solutions to help you get back on track.
Lack of Space
If your business has grown or if you see seasonal surges in your inventory, you may be faced with lack of space in your warehouse. Before adding on to your existing space or packing up and moving to a new location, consider renting a self-storage unit for your excess inventory.
Storage facilities today have come a long way from the garage-style units of the past. Some of the features they now offer include:
- high tech, multi-level security
- climate control
- automatic bill payment
- interior parking for loading and unloading
- meeting rooms with coffee, Wi-Fi and fax machines
You can rent month-to-month if you aren’t sure how much space is right for your business or if you want to scale up/down the amount of storage throughout the year. You can also purchase storage condominiums and have complete control over how your unit is equipped. You can even rent special humidity- and vibration-controlled units for the large-scale storage of wine, for instance.
Having a disorganized warehouse is tantamount to not having inventory at all, if you can’t find what you need and lose business because of it. This is another area where it pays to automate. Warehouse management software (WMS) connects all aspects of your warehouse activity via cloud-based platforms, so you know exactly where your goods are at any point in time, including:
- picking and kitting
You can produce reports from your data to help you streamline your warehouse processes and add more sophisticated elements, such as foreign label reading, integration with accounting or ERP and compatibility with bar codes, hand-held scanners and RFID chipped materials.
On-site Logistics Problems
You can be as organized as is humanly possible, but if you can’t move your goods around your warehouse, your efficiency will go way down, which is ultimately reflected in your company’s revenue. To handle on-site logistics, consider working with a firm that sells or rents materials moving equipment. If you are building a new warehouse or re-organizing yours, it is the ideal time to design your in-house logistics from the ground up. And if you’re not sure what equipment will work best for you, try renting from places like Arpac Storage Systems Corp to see which pieces are most well-suited to your floor and employee skills. From pallet racking to docking, your warehouse should run like a finely oiled machine.
If you have problems with your inventory supply, obtaining certain parts, or simply communicating with your suppliers, you should investigate inventory software. You can now purchase supply chain management software (SCMS) to help you control those issues. Don’t worry about creating more work for IT or having to increase your computer power for additional software; SCMS programs are web-based. Not only does this save your servers, it allows you to access the software from anywhere around the globe.
Some of the benefits of SCMS include:
- profiles and contact information for all your vendors
- ability to link supply data to your warehouse inventory
- algorithms to predict supply and demand cycles
- monitoring of regulatory and nonconformance concerns
- calendar notifications
SCMS programs are usually a la carte, so you can pay for only the services your business needs depending on its size. And if you’re not happy with your current suppliers, some programs will also help identify new sources for you.
Today’s business market is a competitive one, and companies that utilize the latest warehouse technology will have an advantage over others. If your warehouse has room for improvement, don’t wait to make necessary changes. Every day that you are not running efficiently is a day that you’re not making the profits you should.