- The 7 Fundamental Warehouse Processes
- Best Practices for Warehouse Processes
Improvement comes from simplifying warehouse processes and procedures. Aligning processes makes sure they work optimally and increase warehouse efficiency. As a result, this also reduces costs within the warehouse. Further, companies who understand these processes exhibit the best practices.
In this article, the seven fundamental warehouse processes will be discussed. In addition, best practices will also be shared for each process.
The 7 Fundamental Warehouse Processes
Receiving is the most crucial step in fundamental warehouse processes. During this step, staff must verify that the product:
- is the right product
- is the right quantity
- comes in the right condition
- arrives at the right time
To some, this is known as supplier compliance. Discovering wrong or faulty products, later on, can disrupt the whole process. As such, it is important that there are little to no errors in receiving. Staff should filter out damaged goods. Once the warehouse receives the products, the accountability falls on them. They are responsible for the product’s condition from picking to shipping.
Put-away refers to the movement of goods. In particular, from the receiving dock to the optimal warehouse location. The ideal location is important for lean warehousing practices as well. Having the ideal location means increased efficiency and decreased waste. This fundamental warehouse process helps:
- Store cargo faster and more efficiently
- Minimize travel time
- Maximise warehouse space
- Keep track of assets easier
In this stage, staff collect products from where they are stored in the warehouse to fulfil customer orders. Then, they take the products to a staging area. Here, the product is prepared and finalised for delivery. The picking process is the costliest process in the warehouse. It accounts for 55% of operational expenses. Applying best practices and adopting a warehouse management system can make this more cost-efficient.
Packing consolidates all products for order and prepares them for shipment. This process also makes sure that damages are minimised when goods leave the warehouse. Additionally, this process takes into consideration the packaging of the product. It should be light enough so as not to add too much weight to the goods in order to maintain costs.
Some people consider shipping or dispatching to be the final step in warehouse processes. Shipping is only successful when the right order makes it to the right customer on time. Since items come in real-time or in waves, the orders must be ready when the delivery trucks arrive. However, having the orders ready too early will clutter staging areas and cause delays. As such, the manager must balance packing and dispatching with carrier pick-ups.
Returns are an unavoidable part of warehouse processes. Some companies wish returns would disappear. As such, they are not usually considered to be part of fundamental warehouse processes. But, it’s better to be prepared for situations such as these.
Value-adding refers to any work done to prepare the products for sale. This could mean the products are produced, kitted, assembled, relabelled, and modified. It also involves putting together different items to form a new product. As such, some consider this process very complex. Yet, systems evolved over the years to assist in this task.
Best Practices for Warehouse Processes
Optimising this warehouse process is to receive cargo quickly and efficiently. Therefore, it would be useful to have conveyors to unload cargo. This way, the dock will also be clear for other drop-offs happening.
As mentioned, picking is one of the costliest warehouse processes. Having a conveyor system will not only lessen foot traffic but also make picking more efficient.
DWS systems are useful in measuring the weight and dimensions of parcels. This certifies the measurements of the items and accelerates the receiving process.
DWS systems also come in handy for shipping out products. They take the weight and measurement of the parcels to maintain costs.
Management softwares are useful in almost any of the warehouse processes. Labour management software and scheduling help you allocate the proper amount of labourers to a certain task. This is especially useful in receiving when items arrive on a certain schedule. Softwares also help in put-away and storage as they store data and update a centralised dashboard of any changes or vacancies. They also assign optimal places for a streamlined put-away process.
There are many warehouse processes that happen on a daily basis. Not only is it essential to have the proper equipment. But having the proper warehouse management system also helps. For more information on warehouse management systems, conveyors, DWS and tailor-made solutions, contact Qbasis today!