Warehouse efficiency is positively impacted whenever you are able to automate processes. As your WMS software takes over dispatching, routing and inventory tracking, there will be a reduction in waste and errors. This means that the work being done is quality work, not subject to returns, corrections and troubleshooting later on. The processes you choose to automate will each impact your warehouse in a different way.
A Warehouse Management System is capable of prioritizing orders based on shipping deadlines, current inventory and more. You will also be able to batch orders in order to optimize the amount of activity in different parts of your warehouse. With a manual system, your team is forced to fill orders in the order they come in, with minimal ability to dispatch orders by batch or zone. Your software automates this process and ensures that all orders are dispatched in the most efficient way possible.
Once the orders have been dispatched to your team, the next step is automated routing. By directing pickers through the warehouse in an orderly fashion and tracking their activity, your warehouse efficiency will improve. Your pickers will not have to mentally work out the best way to reach each of the locations on their list, nor will they come up against unexpected traffic jams in the aisle.
Annual physical inventories are one of the most disruptive events to your operation. With the help of a Warehouse Management System, your products will be grouped into classes which are subject to periodic inventory checks. This keeps your inventory more accurate throughout the year, and does away with sudden realization of shrinkage. It also enables you to keep closer track of the items that matter most, and cuts down on time spent counting slow moving items. Rolling inventory checks are scheduled by the WMS so you don't waste time trying to figure out a counting process on your own throughout the year.
Packing materials cost money. Oftentimes products are shipped in larger-than-necessary packaging because it is easier to waste the space than to try to make it fit into a smaller box. The right WMS takes into account the size, shape and weight of items being shipped together to find the best packaging available. This system tells your employees how to pack the items, and cuts down on waste.
All four of these examples provide ways for your team to move more efficiently throughout your warehouse. Reducing steps and waste both lend themselves to a higher overall warehouse efficiency. In addition, cutting out accuracy errors ensures that corrective actions don't become necessary later on.