Prioritize resilience and efficiency in warehousing and distribution.
Improved, optimized warehouse operations have never been more important, or in-demand, for businesses across the entire spectrum. In the aftermath of the pandemic, which added chaos and uncertaining to supply chains and increased consumer demand, organizations are re-investing in their internal warehouse properties or working with third-parties to bolster their capabilities.
Warehousing and distribution have never been the ‘stars’ of the show but instead have been the steady, consistent performers that helped every other aspect of your business work well. However, that is changing as — in the wake of dysfunctional supply chains of the last few years — organizations re-invest in modernizing, optimizing and in general shining a spotlight on warehouse operations like never before. Large retailers are flooding budgets with funding for new warehouses and supply chain managers across every industry are turning to third-party warehousing to stock up on inventory.
Warehousing, and seamless, optimized operations in those facilities, strengthen your supply chain in several ways, including by lowering transportation costs, enabling a strategic distribution of inventory and providing access to backup materials and goods.
Clearly improving warehouse operations is important. Today we’re examining some of the specifics involved and how optimizing them can add the efficiency you need to power your growth.
Power Your People: Automation and worker augmentation are the ways organizations believe they can best meet the warehousing challenges ahead. Learn more here.
Warehouse Operations, Management and Optimization (Oh My!)
Competition in the eCommerce space has increased dramatically, and retailers in all market segments know of skyrocketing measurements for customer expectations. Suppliers and retailers both need to master today’s assortment of warehousing tools and technologies to meet these demands.
Enterprise mobility provides the tools, services and ongoing support to improve the myriad tasks — and their integration — taking place in distribution centers and warehouses. Unified endpoint management (UEM) ensures the framework in place to improve these processes stays on track. With that said, let’s delve into examining warehousing from three perspectives; the operations that need addressing, the concepts of management that help guide decisions, and the ways you can optimize them.
- Receiving — You are constantly receiving new materials or products. You need good data about when new shipments arrive to have the employees and machinery ready to deal with the influx.
- Put-Away & Storage — Here, warehouse employees will put away the goods in an order that makes them make sense, financially and logistically. For example, obsolete or seasonal items with a lower selling rate should be further away from the packing area and high-rotation items closer. Storage concerns include layout to facilitate the later picking and packing to reduce workload and related costs.
- Picking & Packing — This begins once order processing begins. The picker will go through the picking list to select all of the purchased products with the order then packed for shipping. You can carry out a picking system with mobile devices and technology that enables you to access updated lists wirelessly, and scan products from any location in the warehouse.
- Shipping — This involves the final preparation of the package, including checking that the order is correct, labeling the package, and disturbing the parcels to the carrier.
- Know Your Purpose — Do you have specific delivery requirements or timelines. Do you need specialized storage for certain inventory? Are you using your space, labor and equipment as efficiently as possible?
- Control — Warehouse managers need to juggle many moving parts, including people, equipment, orders and inventory. Being able to track these components is essential to solving the problems that inevitably occur and ensure quality control for order fulfillment.
- Flexibility & Resilience — Warehouse management needs to adjust to change. Bad weather has delayed an expected shipment. Materials arrived damaged. Warehouse operations need to be flexible to account for this, from rearranging space configurations to designing new picking processes.
- Customer Focus — On-time delivery, with the correct product, is one of the most important metrics when it comes to customer service and satisfaction. To deliver on time, you need to be able to fulfill orders quickly and accurately.
With the key warehouse operations highlighted and the management goals specified, here are just a few of the many ways a proven third-party managed services provider can help you add efficiency to your entire distribution process.
1. Add a Warehouse Management System (WMS)
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) provide a comprehensive tool for managing material handling equipment, collecting and storing data and tracking inventory flow from arrival to shipping. A WMS, when implemented with barcode scanning and RFID, automates much of your manual entry tasks and reduces errors.
2. Upgrade your Equipment
Are your devices still performing to specification? Are employees experiencing issues with that equipment? By upgrading or replacing your mobile devices you can achieve better security, faster performance, and further integration with operating systems and management platforms.
Enterprise mobility, especially in warehouses, depends on the network strength and reliability in the facility. Use a site survey to determine your network’s effectiveness and identify trouble spots, holes or interfering factors. Ongoing assessments are critical in the event of new equipment or reconfigurations.
4. Tap into NextGen Solutions
Warehouses invest heavily in equipment like scanners, mobile devices and radios. Automated locker systems protect those investments, provide check-in/out stations and make consistent charging easy to implement. A dedicated asset management portal offers visibility into the entire scope of deployment. RFID tags aid in the speed and accuracy of picking & packing. Robots can automate warehouse operations like picking and scanning and can use artificial intelligence (AI) for continuous machine learning for real-time optimization.
Taking advantage of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) options can make any of these breakthroughs a more affordable solution.
Warehouse Optimization in Action: Learn how TRG boosted efficiency in a warehouse operating 24/7 through device improvements and improved connectivity.
We Put the Easy Back into Warehouse Operations
Modern warehousing and distribution requires a seamless blend of technology, service and ongoing support to provide the supply chain strength organizations need to survive and thrive. At TRG, our holistic portfolio of devices and management capabilities make it possible to enjoy improved warehouse operations smoother than ever before.
With facilities across North America and Europe, we offer a global, one-stop shop for warehouse mobility solutions. From a complete array of deployment services to an always-on support desk, TRG removes the complexity from warehouse operations.
Connect with our team today to get more out of warehousing and support your supply chain like never before.