Put careful planning into mapping out your warehouse

Map out your warehouse to make sure inventory can move around.

Map out your warehouse to make sure inventory can move around.

Although the trend as of late has been to buy previously used warehouses, there is sometimes an opportunity to build one from scratch for your operations. When designing a warehouse for your company’s specifications, you need to think about what exactly you’ll be using it for and what makes the most sense in terms of layout and handling your business’s logistics.

According to the American Journal of Transportation, traffic flow should be something you consider when mapping out your warehouse strategy. Do the aisles have enough room for your material handling equipment and are you able to move inventory seamlessly in and out of the warehouse? Additionally, the source suggests planning to store materials in the order in which they are needed, such as keeping raw materials close to production and packaging near the shipping and receiving end.

Once your warehouse is complete and fully running, you’re not done. The Small Business Chronicle reports in order to be an efficient business, you need to do a yearly refresher to ensure everything is continuing to run smoothly in the supply chain. The source suggests the best time to look at this is right after an annual inventory check, because you have already gotten rid of items and prepped for the year ahead.

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Trying to improve your supply chain? See what needs an upgrade

How on top of your inventory management are you?

How on top of your inventory management are you?

In the material handling sector you need to continuously be making improvements to your supply chain. Continuously inspecting and buying new equipment to make sure everything runs smoothly is one step, but you should also be assessing your overall operations and seeing where you can make adjustments.

One area of investment you will want to look into is technology, according to Material Handling and Logistics. According to the news source, in an effort to stay competitive when recruiting top talent, you need to have top-of-the line technology. This can also help offset any gaps you have due to labor shortage, as software platforms and robotics are starting to fill in with some of the more monotonous tasks.

Additionally, investing in technology can help you gain more insight into what is going on with your supply chain and where you can make efficiency improvements. According to Supply Chain 24/7, more managers are using technology to have insight into how quickly moves through the supply chain and spot signs for needed improvement. The news provider reports that managers are taking a look at aggregate data across the chain and trying to make improvement in delivery productivity and seeing peak times for activity.

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Proper inventory management is the key to business success

Make inventory management a priority.

Make inventory management a priority.

Inventory management remains a critical piece to business success. How much inventory you have in stock and whether or not you can meet consumer demand is important, but so is maintaining a healthy inventory level and not biting off more than you can chew, which can result in a sunk cost. Are you scanning in all the inventory that comes in on your material handling equipment? Are you keeping track of its life cycle? These are things to consider as you try to maintain optimal levels.

Business.com says leaders should understand the risks involved in poor inventory management, including labor costs, potential theft and unhappy customers. All of this can affect a business’s bottom line, with the latter having prolonged consequences due to a poor reputation.

The Small Business Chronicle reports one of the biggest reasons for poor inventory management is a lack of planning, which then causes managers to be caught off guard and overwhelmed. Additionally, you could be playing catch-up, as the news provider reports that if you’re not seeing inventory is taking a while to move, you may not have a place to store new products, ultimately affecting your receiving process as well.

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Holiday sales lasting longer, making more planning a requirement

Plan ahead what inventory you want to highlight this season.

Plan ahead what inventory you want to highlight this season.

As the holiday shopping season moves into high gear, many organizations are finding they need to be prepared for round-the-clock demand, as consumers aren’t just leaving their shopping for the traditional Thanksgiving weekend. Instead, brands are offering discounts throughout the entire shopping season.

The Washington Post reports that economists have been predicting huge sales drivers thanks to a burgeoning economy and consumer confidence. In order to capitalize on it, retailers are offering discounts throughout the whole season so people will continue to shop. The news provider reports that although there was a slight dip in the number of shoppers year over year, experts in part believe it’s due to the prolonged shopping season.

However, with much larger demand and a wider timeframe, it’s critical that managers stay on top of inventory as the season continues. Business.com reports that for small businesses in particular, this is a time to make sure your unique products are being highlighted to customers. The news provider reports that because smaller shops typically have dollies filled with unique, high-quality items, it’s important to highlight those. Additionally, small business managers may want to look at local events happening and see if it makes sense to fill material handling equipment with inventory to sell their wares there.

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Try to save money in your material handling operation

How on top of your inventory management are you?

How on top of your inventory management are you?

Do you find that costs have become a significant burden to your supply chain? It’s possible to be more efficient with your material handling operations in order to get a better grip on costs. That could mean making more up front investments, such as buying better material handling equipment to move inventory in an efficient manner and hiring top talent to execute your vision.

Thomas reports there are a number of ways to reign in costs on the material handling front. For starters, trying to be efficient with your space can go a long way. The news provider reports wasted space in a warehouse could mean more overhead costs, while an overcrowded warehouse could put employee safety in jeopardy. It’s important to do forecasting to determine how busy your warehouse could be at any given time, and determine what your optimal inventory levels are. Try to set a goal and keep levels at that rate.

Reliable Plant suggests trying to plan as much as possible and then set standards for the kinds of material handling equipment you want, how you’ll go about storing it and what processes need to be in place. A plan can help you see the gaps in efficiencies and help you determine what needs to be done to close them.

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Retailers get ready for the holiday shopping season

How on top of your inventory management are you?

How on top of your inventory management are you?

With the holidays kicking into high gear, it’s a critical time to have your material handling equipment ready to go and in good condition, so you’re able to run lots of inventory in and out of the warehouse to fulfill customer purchases.

According to Material Handling and Logistics, it’s important to have your warehouse ready to go, as an estimated 71 percent of American consumers plan to either head to the stores or shop online during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, including Cyber Monday. This means you need to have streamlined operations in your storefronts, backrooms, warehouses and distribution centers in order to fulfill all the demand.

It’s also important to offer deals in order to stay competitive. The news provider points out that some retailers are offering their weekend promotions early in order to get foot traffic moving before the holiday weekend even hits.

However, Retail Dive reports that Cyber Monday is expected to be the big draw for the holiday shopping weekend, with the majority of dollars being spent on that day both online and in-store. If you have a multi-channel operation, it’s important to do as much forecasting as possible to plan to be smartly stocked both for online and in-store orders.

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More warehouse managers turn to smaller operations

Improve efficiency to stay competitive.

Improve efficiency to stay competitive.

Are you investing in material handling equipment that’s both efficient and compact? It’s critical to have equipment on hand to help you move large inventories in and out of the warehouse, but making sure you’re able to store them efficiently matters too, particularly as managers are looking for smaller operations that they can still be efficient in.

Modern Materials Handling reports because e-commerce has been a major driver in demand in recent years, more operations are looking to smaller warehouses that are more conveniently located, so they are able to reach their customers quicker and operate on more of an on-demand basis. Not having as much space means there is not as much upkeep required, and being able to use these areas as a means of completing deliveries to densely populated areas is seen as a better investment.

The Wall Street Journal reports the trend for sacrificing space for proximity to dense populations that are driving the orders has been increasing for the past couple of years. The news provider reports that the smaller distribution centers tend to be the last stop for inventory coming out from the larger warehouses right before they’re delivered to customers’ homes. They’re seen as the sorting facilities before the deliveries are made.

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The holiday rush gives a new stress to deliveries

How on top of your inventory management are you?

How on top of your inventory management are you?

The holiday season is a busy time for those in the material handling industry, but it’s important to try and stay ahead of the rush as much as possible in order to keep up with the demand and making customers happy. One of the major reasons for the surge in demand is the e-commerce industry.

Material Handling & Logistics reports there’s a greater stress on delivery companies as they try to keep up with e-commerce demand. While material handling equipment can help, as it allows big bulks of inventory to be able to be moved at once, but space and cost remain barriers when making deliveries in dense populations.

The news provider reports that because rents are so expensive, distribution centers are frequently outside the city, where a large portion of deliveries are fulfilled.

It’s important to meet the needs of customers in denser areas, however. According to Retail Dive, customers in urban and busy areas expect speed when it comes to delivery, with shoppers who order next day orders expecting their goods to arrive before 3pm. With a demanding customer base in areas where it’s hard to set up logistics, companies have found they’ve had to get creative with their delivery fulfillment.

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Can lack of skilled workers affect holiday supply chains?

Increase efficiency with equipment.

Increase efficiency with equipment.

The holiday shopping season has already begun to spring into high gear, and it’s important that warehouse managers are able to deal with the increase in demand, which can have a major impact on the supply chain, particularly if there are already present gaps. Material handling equipment can help keep everything moving efficiently, as it allows workers to move lots of inventory at a time with very little strain.

However, a shortage in skilled workers can cause a strain on a supply chain, particularly if it’s already experiencing issues, according to Modern Materials Handling. The shortage in particular is highlighted by the fact that unemployment is down so people can be selective with their line of work and the skills required for the technology of a supply chain makes it more difficult to fill the role of skilled workers.

The Wall Street Journal reports logistics have been a major factor for job growth recently, with transportation and warehouse organization trying to fill gaps before the holiday season really kicks into high gear. The news provider reports because of the jump in e-commerce demand, companies are looking to fulfill orders quickly and keep customers happy, and logistics play a big role in that.

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Set yourself up for success in material handling

Keep your warehouse organized so material handling equipment can get through.

Keep your warehouse organized so material handling equipment can get through.

Having a skilled workers in the material handling operations can help companies be successful not just in inventory management, but also keeping employees safe and customers satisfied.

Modern Materials Handling reports there are intricacies that warehouse managers can implement to be successful at material handling. For example, the source suggests optimizing the warehouse environment for maximum efficiency, making storage well-organized and it easy to maneuver material handling equipment through the aisles. The source reports that with the right layout, you can help avoid any safety hazards that come with a cluttered warehouse.

Additionally, the news source reports keeping up with training no matter how long your staff has been around. You’ll also want to look at how your material handling equipment is faring with all of the wear. Constant maintenance is key for keeping a healthy fleet.

Reliable Plant reports having a good material handling plan in place can help companies be efficient and also keep costs down. One of the main principles of putting a plan in place is making sure the warehouse is organized at all times. If you look at your warehouse’s height and shelves, map inventory appropriately and make sure to stack like items together, to make retrieval an easier process.

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