How To Maximize Warehouse and Fulfillment Centers

Inventory management is one of the many challenges that every e-commerce business faces. Warehouses and fulfillment centers provide online retailers with space for storing their inventory before they are rolled out for delivery to the customer. Depending on the time of the year, there are instances when your warehouse or fulfillment center may run out of space for holding inventory.

Maximizing warehouse and fulfillment centers is important in saving you time and money and keeping your customers happy. If you cannot effectively manage your facility, you will not be able to check whether you have too much or too little stock for distribution to customers.

According to a survey of warehouse and DC operations, 43% consider insufficient space as one of the challenges of managing inventory. Technically speaking, your warehouse or fulfillment center has insufficient space if it hits about 85% of its occupancy.

When this happens, the biggest problem becomes congestion. This would mean extra work for you. You have to move products to another location to accommodate new products. Picture a three-car garage. You cannot put all three cars in your garage because you won’t have room for lawn mowers, snow blowers, yard tools, etc. If you don’t have space for moving inventory, you consume time and additional labor.

Reasons Warehouses Run Out of Space  

There are several reasons your warehouse could be running out of space for stocking your inventory.

  1. Your e-commerce business is booming. Products are on demand and are selling. It means people are buying your products quickly so you need more.
  2. The purchasing department over buys something. You only require inventory for two months but the purchasing department got a great deal on a product and buys inventory for six months. Warehouse space then becomes an issue.
  3.  Obsolete or dead inventory. Inventory has been stuck in the warehouse for several months and has not been moving. To create space, you either move these products to a place with less congestion or destroyed and disposed of.

Benefits of Warehouses and Fulfillment Centers

Regardless of the size of your ecommerce business, having a warehouse for stocking your inventory offers a wide range of benefits which could include the following:

1. Faster shipping to customers

When choosing where to store your stock, consider distributing it to several warehouses across the country. You can move your products closer to your customers so it takes less time and money for delivering orders to your customers.

2. Better organization of products

Having a warehouse can improve the accuracy of inventory tracking and reduce the number of lost stocks. Warehousing can help reduce inventory turnover rates and make reordering inventory proactive.

3. Less stress

Warehousing is more than just putting your inventory into shelves. A more organized process and knowing that your products are in good hands can make a huge difference.

4. Saves time

Searching through a pile of products can be a tedious task. However, warehousing frees you from spending several hours looking for inventory of certain products. By organizing your products into shelves, you can reduce the time searching for the stocks.

Tips For Maximizing Fulfillment Center  

Warehouses need to be carefully managed, reviewed, and improved to ensure that your inventory will be delivered quickly and accurately. Customer satisfaction will depend much on your efficient and accurate delivery of orders. This may be a minor oversight but it can hinder the growth of your business and may be costly in the long run.

Maximizing warehouse operations should focus on at least one of these aspects:

  •  Reducing costs – costs include money, time, and error
  • Enhancing quality – this applies to various things like accurate product deliveries, customer satisfaction, and employee morale.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of warehouses in the US has risen 6.8% in the last 5 years. This means that inventory and warehouse management will be crucial to your business or you could be losing out to competitors. Here are some tips for maximizing your warehouse and fulfillment center.  

One common problem that warehouses are facing is that they are not taking full advantage of their space. Whether in-house or leased, things can become chaotic if you don’t have the proper system in place. Here are some tactics for maximizing warehouse space:

Choose The Right Container

The right container matters in improving warehouse and fulfillment center efficiency. You should be able to easily load your goods to it. Also, make sure that it fits nicely onto the truck without wasting space. The choice of container varies depending on the inventory. There might be some regulations you need to adhere to based on the products in your warehouse.

Use The Right Pallet

Using the right pallet helps ensure convenient transportation and storage of goods. When choosing a pallet, you need to consider how you will be using the pallet. Will you move them with a pallet jack or via a forklift? Will they be stored at ground level or high up in the racking? Another important consideration is the size and weight of the inventory you will load.

There are different kinds of pallets to choose from. Metal pallets are extremely durable and long lasting. They can withstand high heat and are corrosive materials. They are great for us in pharmaceutical warehouses. Plastic pallets are light, durable, and affordable. Finally, the traditional wooden pallets are highly versatile and come in many shapes and designs and are recyclable.

Optimize Racks

Racking is one of the ways you can organize your inventory and dispatch it much quicker. When choosing a rack, you should take into consideration the size, strength, and accessibility. It should be easily accessible to your employees and be able to move it safely.

There are different types of racking available. For small items, you can use flow racks while larger goods may require cantilever or pallet racks. Make sure that your racks are scalable to allow enlargement as your warehouse expands. Avoid racks that need to be replaced. Another option is a rack that allows for incremental increases.

Use your vertical space

Check if there is vertical space available in your warehouse. How much cubic feet of vertical space is unused? One problem with vertical racks is that the upright or base plate may not be sized properly. You need to check with a structural engineer to confirm if a rack extension is a viable option.

Install a Mezzanine

A mezzanine floor can double warehouse space. It can serve as your shipping or receiving area. This is a much better option than building expansion. One drawback of the mezzanine is that the floor loading must be able to handle it. There will be columns and base plates dropping down to the floor that could impede the process happening below it.

Alternatively, you can use the mezzanine to combine previously separate sections such as shipping and receiving docks. This will allow you to save space.

Keep Up with Technology  

Warehousing has evolved in such a way that it has stayed up with technological developments. To improve warehouse efficiency, consider using voice-enabled technology. In addition, you can have your order pickers wear headgear telling them where to go, what to pick, and where to deliver the order. They can do this instead of reading an order sheet or taking verbal directions from a manager.

Always Put Safety First

Warehouses are places where workers are at risk of getting into an accident. According to the US Department of Labor, slip and fall accidents account for 15 percent of all accidental deaths and 25 percent of all injury claims. The top five accident prone areas in the warehouse are the dock, forklifts, conveyor, materials storage, and manual lifting and handling.

Accidents can hamper the operations of your warehouse or fulfillment center. An injured employee will be unable to work and their morale will be low. Make sure that you put safety first. Put in place a quality rehab program in your warehouse.

Organize Workstations

 Unorganized workstations can hurt productivity. You can change all that using the “5S” method.

  • Sort out unnecessary tools. This will keep your work area free from obstacles and distractions that can affect your productivity.
  • Set in order. Arranging workstations in a logical order (according to function or where they are used) will ensure smooth operations
  • Shiny. Machinery in your warehouse can be subjected to wear and tear. For this reason, you need to regularly inspect and keep them tidy to prevent accidents and breakdowns.
  • Standardize. Set a schedule for maintaining the three previous steps
  • Sustain. Train your workers on the 5S method to maintain the organization process

Warehousing with airisX   

airisX has a logistics team that can deliver your product and goods to our in-house storage facilities, or directly to your own solution, including Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA). Freight from the point of manufacture to the destination location can be included in any quote, allowing our team of global logistics experts to ensure your shipping and delivery go quickly and efficiently. There are many options for delivery, depending on the source and destination, such as ground, local delivery, major shipping channels, customs brokerage and freight forwarding, airfreight and more. Whether you are arranging stock for next quarter or have an urgent order that needs immediate turnaround, airisX will get the job done.

Fulfillment

Our ecommerce team oversees the day-to-day operations of your internal and platform stores, managing inventory, sales, ongoing advertising and ensuring that the product is selling per the desired metrics, and delivered to customers on time. airisX has a fulfillment center located in the US Midwest that it can utilize to deliver products to your clients and works with all the major fulfillment solutions, such as FBA. Your ecommerce marketplace manager and team monitors reviews and support issues for any indication that clients are not completely satisfied with your product and reports issues and suggestions back to the design and manufacturing teams

 

 

 

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