8 Warehouse Management Pains—and How to Relieve Them
Warehouse managers deal with hundreds of moving pieces—literally. Even the most high-performing workforces have trouble juggling all these parts, and as a result, operational inefficiency in warehouse management is unavoidable.
The resulting decline in productivity is costly and energy-consuming.
Don’t fret. You, as a skilled warehouse powerhouse, can stay on top of your operations with the right tools to help you overcome your workplace’s pain points.
We’re talking about the processes and the lack of resources, information and time that cause problems or delays on the floor. These can include poorly sorted, unlabeled or misplaced inventory or simply workers having to spend too much time traveling within the warehouse.
In other words: bottlenecks that affect your efficiencies, productivity, customer service and, as a result, your bottom line.
Warehouse Manager Pains
Do you know which pain points are your worst offenders?
The following list will help you identify, prioritize and address them with the right warehouse management solutions.
1. Inaccurate Reporting and Missing Inventory
The pain: When inventory isn’t stored, recorded and reported properly, you lose crucial time. Checking stock quantity only after it’s put away leaves pickers to rely on inaccurate stock information. Not knowing where the stock actually lives contributes to both lost and overstock situations. These all lead to increased expenses, decreased productivity and lost revenue.
The relief: A warehouse floor layout where everything is visible lowers the chances of inaccurate reporting and misplaced stock. Your staff should track inventory as it arrives and leaves the warehouse.
But there’s still the matter of human error—which is where automation comes in handy. WMS lets you know exactly where each part is located for both put-away and picking, even while in transit. Having reliable warehouse management software reduces the occurrence of discrepancies and unfulfilled orders.
2. Inefficient Picking
The pain: Inefficiency comes in many forms: miscalculating inventory; failing to plan picking routes; picking from the wrong source, packaging or location. If it takes longer than necessary to find the right items, or if employees are running back and forth in the warehouse, these are signs that your picking processes need improvement.
The relief: Gain efficiencies by applying the following: Arrange the warehouse to group together the 20% of your SKUs that complete 80% of your order. Make sure that 80/20 zone is designed with enough room for high-volume activity. Define where each physical piece of inventory is to physically be located. Automatically direct the picker to the most efficient picking location for a specific quantity. For example, if you need to pick “12” each, direct the picker to pick a case of 12 instead of picking 12 individuals and emptying your primary location.
3. Manual Data Entry
The pain: Working like it’s 1999. Relying on manual data input is not only extremely time-consuming—it also carries the risk of human error while inputting product SKUs, serial numbers, quantities, and shipping addresses.
The relief: Digitize the whole inventory process with barcodes, RFID tags and scanners for receiving and put-away of inventory and fulfilling orders. With these tools, and by introducing additional quality checks to the process, you’ll reduce errors and subsequent costs and delays.
The pain: Inefficient means to communicate priority orders. How can the warehouse staff know which orders to work on first and to prioritize their daily activities?
The relief: Documents can be sorted by transaction date (when the document arrived in the warehouse), the requested date (when the customer would like it to arrive) or the cancel date (the date after which the customer won’t accept it). Default settings can be configured to use the same date field most of the time. “On-demand” searches can be run at any time using the additional date fields to make sure you are assigning the correct priority activities.
The pain: Inaccurate inventory for inbound and outbound orders. This is a two-fold pain. Not receiving the quantity of stock ordered prohibits the ability to fulfill existing or new orders which results in a subsequent impact on your customer that ordered that same product.
The relief: A WMS enforces rules and checkpoints for all warehouse processes. This reduces the ability for users to receive the wrong products, the wrong units of measure or the wrong quantities into the system. The picking process has its own set of validations that reduce the ability for users to fulfill outbound orders with the wrong products, the wrong units of measure or the wrong quantities. This will ensure more accurate stock levels and increase the fulfillment rate of customer orders which results in improved customer satisfaction.
6. Inventory quality control
The pain: Without quality inspections performed immediately upon arrival, you won’t be able to raise concerns with your supplier regarding faulty or missing goods. This can potentially negatively impact the safety and satisfaction of customers and result in significant costs to your business.
The relief: Stringent quality process will help you deliver quality goods that customers are expecting. Efficient inventory control incorporates tracking, so you can easily trace items—backwards or forwards—from source to finished product.
The pain: Being understocked isn’t the only quantity problem for warehouses. 83% of retailers, manufacturers, and distributors state that overstock is a problem. Be cautious to not keep excess stock, as it kills cash flow.
The relief: Liquidating overstock is a traditional solution for this, but with current technology, it has become easy to prevent overstock before it occurs. Inventory replenishment and forecasting software can also help you track business-specific trends and calculate lead time, safety stock and the best reorder points. A strong, integrated WMS and ERP can perform those functions for you.
8. A Lack of Integration
The pain: The previous seven pain points are made worse when warehouse processes and inventory management are disjointed from the operation, sales, and financial system. Accessing and reporting all your data from different systems wastes time, creates inefficiency and does not provide real-time information.
The relief: One single source. Your warehouse management platform should offer real-time inventory visibility to stock locations, order statuses, and shipping errors. With this deeper level of insight into your warehouse, you can improve the productivity and profitability of the whole organization.
A Warehouse Management Solution
Pinpoint WMS will take you beyond basic assessment to comprehensive operational improvement, from accurate inventory to efficiency and productivity. With Pinpoint WMS, many businesses are easing their warehouse management pain points and achieving greater efficiency. Find out how it can help you take charge of yours.