How to optimize the performance of logistics warehouses

Every responsible person, such as a warehouse owner, director of logistics understands how important it is to improve the efficiency of work. Today, the process of optimizing the work of the warehouse does not surprise anyone. In general, optimization is typical for all sectors of business. In many ways, it has become a popular trend in the national and global economy.

Reasons for optimizing warehouse operations

This is an important process that does not depend on the scale of operations. Even if the warehouse is relatively small and grounded strictly for certain types of goods, there are still effective ways to organize everything in such a way as to get rid of costs and increase returns. And, of course, the optimization of the warehouse is also relevant for medium and large companies, even holdings.

This is not an abstract concept that means reducing costs. In fact, warehouse optimization involves specific components. Specifically, the following:

  • Minimization of overhead costs
  • Increasing the speed of operations in the warehouse
  • Ensuring accuracy of loading and unloading

Each of these items also implies sub-items, that is, sub-stages of activity. In fact, in the process of optimizing the warehouses involved quite a few components, which ultimately lead to the desired result. Therefore, for these purposes, in most cases, business owners and those responsible for the operation of such facilities invite professionals. As a result, the costs spent on attracting professionals, pays off significantly, because it can reduce the risk of loss, damage to the goods, increase the speed of processing orders and achieve other functional objectives.

Importance of warehouse layout

Architectural, structural, planning features should also be taken into account. For example, the layout of the warehouse significantly affects the efficiency of all business activities. The selection of equipment, shelving, and consideration of ceiling heights matter. The following table will help you understand the importance of zoning:

Denser and higherAn important principle that makes it possible to utilize additional space in cases where the height of the walls is sufficiently high
Optimal aisle widthThis allows the passage of loading equipment, freely carrying out operations, involving fewer personnel

As you can see, it is necessary to consider the configuration. Often warehouses have very high ceilings, but the room itself does not allow for wide aisles to allow forklift trucks to pass freely without blocking access to other goods by personnel. This is why the layout of the warehouse becomes the first stage of optimization. Competent zoning will ensure full manipulation, distribution into zones.

When developing the layout of the warehouse takes into account the need to create different zones, for example, for sorting, picking, receiving. And also, it is necessary to provide storage. It, too, is divided into components: storage of goods, which must be handed over to the client or those that were returned because of defects or faulty completing and so on. Every room is different, and even the square meter of available space makes a difference.

What it means to optimize a logistics warehouse

There are other aspects besides the consideration of architectural and planning features. It is very important to pay attention to the goods receiving area. This, too, is the optimization of a logistics warehouse, regardless of its specifics. It is in the receiving department that products are received, checked for completeness and labeling. It so happens that areas for loading and unloading, receiving can be combined into a single unit to save space. However, if there is an opportunity to separate them, it is better to do so, since there are cases of intersection of cargo and commodity flows, which complicates the logistics system.

Also, optimizing the logistics warehouse means arranging a compartment for picking, sorting. In this compartment, workers sort out incoming requests regarding the assembly, selection of the necessary objects, and the picking is also carried out here. Yes, this is also an important area of work, because almost always errors in the picking lead to the return of goods, the need to spend extra time to redo the work. The area of this department in the warehouse can be different, given the volume of goods turnover. It is necessary to provide full temporary storage of objects, so that employees could quietly collect documentation, negotiate the nuances of kitting for the customer and get down to business.

In the process of optimizing the logistics warehouse takes into account the specifics of the business, seasonality, the need to work with both large oversized objects, and with oversized, standard. It matters how many people service this operation, carry out picking, sorting.

Competently organized process of warehouse work is very important

Три экспертных совета по организации работы склада интернет-магазина

The storage area is also very significant. Some people call it “the key point”. Virtually any warehouse process will involve having to deal with goods located exactly in the storage area. Features:

  • As a rule, these storage bays contain shelving and other auxiliary equipment. This is where the loading and unloading equipment functions
  • The length, height of the ceilings in this area, and storage density affect the operation of the warehouse
  • In the process of optimization, specialists look at how intensively this zone is used, i.e. what is the turnover of different goods
  • The average time for a typical loading and unloading operation is calculated

Also, the warehouse process means calculating optimum storage densities. You should not think that in order to save money and to optimize, it is better to densify the objects, placing them as close to each other as possible. In most cases, this will not result in the desired resource savings, but instead will increase the time it takes for personnel to complete a single operation.

It is better to be able to unload the same type of cargo by using deep shelving, which can achieve a space saving of almost 20%. In the process of operation of warehouses provides prompt access to perishable objects, taking into account their specificity, shelf life. They are arranged in such a way that access to them is as easy as possible. It is not customary to store such batches in warehouses for a long time, so operations with them are carried out most often.

Proper zoning of the warehouse is just the beginning of the process

Yes, it starts with dividing it into zones, compartments, and areas, and that’s the first step. Professional zoning of warehouse space can be described briefly as “the transition from chaos to an organized structure, to order. A static type of addressable storage is used. This means that for each batch, for each type, there is a separate place. Of the advantages is stability, that is, the staff will only have to remember once, learn the location, and then people will be free to navigate.

However, zoning the storage space according to the static type is not the only possible option. Sometimes entrepreneurs, organizing the work of the warehouse on their own, mistakenly believe that static zoning is the only possible best option. But in the process of functioning of the company it turns out that this model does not always work.

Of course, ideally one should recognize such nuances not on one’s own mistakes and experience, but in advance, that is by inviting a specialist. It is then in the process of zoning the storage space it will be clear which option to choose: static, addressable and so on.

What is dynamic addressable storage in a warehouse

Адресное хранение на складе: что это, принцип работы, особенности внедрения

In addition to static, there is also a dynamic way of storage. It is relevant when the business is characterized by the need to deal with an impressive number of items, with a constantly changing assortment. Then dynamic addressable storage at a warehouse becomes more reasonable. The following table will help you understand this:

A more complex systemIt is more complex, but allows you to freely handle a larger assortment
Appropriate software is involvedSince dynamic storage is complex, you need additional hardware and software designed specifically for such warehouses

Yes, if cargo turnover is intensive, then, based on the results of the audit, experts can make recommendations on the implementation of additional equipment, software, which implies some costs. However, firstly, such innovations can be implemented gradually, step by step, i.e. in accordance with the developed plan. And secondly, this expenditure can and should be considered as a profitable investment, which will simplify the activities of employees and allow you to control all processes. In this case, dynamic addressable storage in the warehouse will be more all preferable.

Of course, it is necessary to take into account the need to train employees, because not all people have the skills to work with equipment and software. That’s why experienced entrepreneurs, working in the field of wholesale and retail, logistics, know that employee training is an integral process of any commercial, economic activity. You will have to implement barcodes, develop a system for identifying objects, labeling, and so on.

Competent optimization of the warehouse to achieve the best results

Any innovation must be justified. Including those associated with the installation of IT-equipment. This includes many names, such as the following:

  • Handheld industrial computers
  • A variety of scanners, barcode readers
  • Data collection terminals
  • Label printers
  • Track computers, if you use a lot of materials handling equipment.

You can find more information about them at independent resources, including companies engaged in business software development. Moreover, there are solutions not only for corporations and large businesses, but also for representatives of medium and even small businesses. Such devices and equipment differ in scale, complexity, functionality and the ability to perform a large number of operations per unit of time. You need only choose the most suitable option, taking into account the turnover, the specific business, the wishes and possibilities of entrepreneurs, legislative requirements regarding storage conditions for goods in storage and other factors.

Wide possibilities of modern equipment for optimization

These opportunities should not be neglected. It is proven that the optimization of the warehouse directly depends on properly implemented systems. For example, if the nomenclature of goods exceeds 100 units, it is believed that this will already be grounds for automation. In such cases, standard manual control will rather hinder than stimulate entrepreneurial activity. There are various solutions that are characterized by ease of application. They can be integrated with other systems.

Programs and systems specially designed to optimize warehouse operations also help in the process of inventory, cargo identification. They will make it possible to track the entire chain of movement up to receipt after payment to the final consumer. They also make it possible to take into account the volume of rejects, returns, and incorrect kitting, which also shows the effectiveness of any warehouse and the level of staff qualification.

Simplification of cooperation with controlling and supervising authorities after optimization of warehouse operation

This optimization will simplify interaction with the supervisory and controlling authorities, because it facilitates the work of the accounting department. Accordingly, financial transactions will be displayed more accurately, which is necessary for the formation of tax reports. You will also see the needs of related departments, such as transportation, manufacturing, marketing, and others. If necessary, it will be easy to change the settings, to compare reporting indicators, including financial, for example, with similar indicators of the last month, quarter, year. It is possible to adapt the implemented system to the new emerging business processes and changing realities of today. And this will not always require the direct involvement of a programmer, changing the appropriate settings.

Optimization of the warehouse – an urgent need for business needs

If you objectively consider today’s realities, it becomes apparent that such optimization of the warehouse is a pressing need, without which many businesses will not be able to function at all. Quite quickly they will prove to be unviable, losing to competitors, which will squeeze the non-optimized companies from the entire segment. However, another nuance lies in the need for proper selection of software and equipment. It is not always advisable to invest a lot of money, to choose the most large-scale, volumetric solutions. Everything starts with an analysis of the company’s activities, volume, turnover, and the specifics of the goods. Only on the basis of this experts make a decision on how best to optimize this or that warehouse.

Of course, you must also remember the other factors mentioned above: the layout, zoning, static or dynamic addressable storage, the level of competence of all personnel, architectural, structural, design features of the object, the surrounding infrastructure. Thus, we can talk about full-fledged optimization only if we act comprehensively. This includes the development of a schedule for the modernization of production, implementation of new systems. Not all companies are able to modernize their warehousing and accounting system in a very short period of time.