Improving your warehouse and distribution process isn’t necessarily as easy as it might sound since any course of action needs to take into account variables such as your products, staffing levels, scheduling and third-party vendors.
What this means is that your first order of business is to figure out the things that impact your warehouse and distribution process in the first place so that you can then determine how to go about making the process more efficient, productive and profitable.
What follows are 5 tips for improving your warehouse and distribution process. The first tip is definitely a game changer.
In this digital age, you simply can’t ignore the power of warehouse automation or warehouse management software. For instance, at 3PL, we offer warehousing and distribution services throughout North America, and all warehouses are fully equipped with automated transportation management systems that can help you track and trace shipments online.
- Mind Your Metrics
In order to improve your warehousing and distribution process, you have to understand the metrics you will be using to figure out productivity, what baseline you’re beginning with and what your target is. A word of caution: When you set about figuring out which metrics to track, don’t go overboard. Choose a handful of metrics to track and follow them religiously rather than choosing a whole bunch and failing to keep track of all of them adequately.
- Get Employees Involved
Before making any drastic moves, you should talk to employees working in the warehouse to solicit their ideas and to get their feedback. Since these workers have their boots on the ground, so to speak, they may provide suggestions that might not have occurred to you otherwise. Moreover, employees are more likely to buy into the program when the solution incorporates some of their own ideas.
- Set Vendor Policies
You can get your warehouse and distribution process working like clockwork if you put together vendor compliance rules that cover, among other things, quality, packaging, purchasing terms and delivery time guarantees. When you have such a policy in place, you’ll be able to gauge how well your vendors are performing in an objective way.
- Review and revise
One thing you absolutely must do is assess your strategy periodically via post mortems to see what works, what needs to be tweaked and what must be overhauled. If you continue to do this, you will reduce the risk of complacency.
It definitely is possible to improve your warehouse and distribution process, and the 5 tips above will get you on the right path.