With an exceptional shipping process and warehouse management system come happy customers. If a scheduled shipment never leaves your warehouse or it is delayed due to a weakness in your process, you can quickly lose customers to a competitor. In addition, a strong warehouse shipping process is an important piece of your supply chain. For these reasons, it's important that you have this process optimized as goods are prepared for shipment to their final destination.
To help you improve your warehouse shipping process, we've outlined six ways you can improve upon it.
1. Use order tracking software
Without the right order tracking software, your team will struggle to handle order processing. This type of software can help to streamline the ordering process through workflows and automations that keep orders moving seamlessly from order receipt to shipment. With automation comes a streamlined process that also helps to remove the chance for human error if orders were entered and processed manually.
Once you choose order tracking software, be sure to train everyone on how it’s to be used. If your employees aren’t properly using it, you're wasting money on a tool that will make your warehouse and back office teams far more efficient. Implement, train and repeat regularly.
2. Have inventory control procedures in place
It's not just about inventory counts, it's about inventory control procedures that help you tightly manage your inventory. Strong inventory control practices are the cornerstone of any successful wholesale distribution business.
Inventory control is defined as the tools that are used that help you manage and run an efficient warehouse. Inventory controls are the systems in place that help you receive, store and ship goods. It is every process that helps you serve your customer when it comes to storing and shipping inventory in your warehouse.
As your business grows, it becomes more and more challenging to deploy inventory controls. But, this necessary practice is well worth it as it will have far-reaching, positive effects on the customer experience and your profitability.
3. Have an efficient pick, pack and ship process
If you own a business with inventory, then you know how warehouse fulfillment works. When an order comes in, you need to pull a product from your inventory. It needs to be safely packaged for the customer and then shipped. This is known as pick, pack, and ship.
Efficient order tracking for the pick tickets can reduce errors and accelerate shipping and delivery. Automatically print shipping labels when an order is received in one easy step. Allow workers to scan barcodes to enter shipment data, rather than writing down numbers. Eliminate written errors and the need to re-enter data with inventory management software.
4. Use the right equipment
Not only is it important to implement inventory controls and use software to automate your processes, it's critical that you use quality equipment, such as pallets and forklifts to move goods throughout your warehouse. Safety is equally important. Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common injuries, so be sure to require the right kind of footwear. For employees operating lift equipment, ensure each operator is properly trained and certified. Equally important is the dock. Your dock should be fitted with the right dock plates and boards to aid delivery drivers in getting receivables right up to your door. The right equipment aids safety, so be sure to buy what is recommended to make your warehouse safe.
5. Optimize the receipt of goods
Use your automated inventory management system to issue digitized purchase orders and receive goods as quickly as they arrive. Scan barcodes and apply the appropriate labeling to get them stocked quickly, especially if a high-demand product. Don’t let receivables sit for days at a time on the warehouse floor. Get them scanned and shelved right away. If it’s a highly popular item, you run the risk of losing customers simply because it took your team too long to receive and shelve it.
6. Design an optimized warehouse layout
A well-designed warehouse floor plan will improve your operational efficiency, save you money and improve your inventory turn ratio. For popular items, make those the most accessible to your pick and pack team. For high-volume SKUs, you’ll want to consider setting up multiple pick, pack and ship locations. Store items that are less frequently shipped in a less accessible area. Just as in real estate: location is everything. A well-designed warehouse is often a moving target, so evaluate it quarterly to be sure the current layout is the best.
In any case, it's always a good time to review your current process to see if there is room for improvement. After all, the better your warehouse is run, the happier your customers will be.
If you'd like to learn how Systum can help you improve your warehouse shipping process, fill out the form below.
Categories: Wholesale Distribution