Warehouse Efficiency and Increased Throughput through Automation


  • What is Throughput?
  • Ways to Achieve Warehouse Efficiency
  • Invest in Automation
  • Space Optimization
  • Avoiding Throughput Errors

What is Throughput? 

Warehouse efficiency and throughput go hand in hand. Generally, throughput refers to the rate of production. Two types of throughput exist in a business. It can either be manufacturing throughput or warehouse throughput. High throughput means good warehouse efficiency. For the purpose of this article, we will focus on warehouse throughput. Warehouse throughput refers to the number of goods that the warehouse processes. This includes all warehouse operations such as stocking and inventory processes. This could also include order fulfilment. 

Calculating Throughput for Warehouse Efficiency

Calculating for production rate helps in increasing throughput. Finding out your current production rate will reveal what needs improvement. Space is not the issue when you want increased throughput. Instead, measure the time necessary to accomplish warehouse processes. This includes the time it takes to pick, pack, and label items. To calculate throughput, divide the number of items by the time it took to process them. Knowing your current throughput also informs you of your labour costs.

Warehouse Efficiency and Increased Throughput through Automation

Ways to Achieve Warehouse Efficiency

Invest in Automation

Investing in automation has a lot of benefits. Firstly, this includes speeding up your warehouse processes. However, speed is not the only factor you should consider. Accuracy and minimal errors are also benefits of warehouse automation. This is why having a warehouse management system increases warehouse efficiency. Some ways you can upgrade to warehouse automation include: 

  • integrating a warehouse management system (WMS)
  • using a conveyor system
  • placing parcel scanning systems (DWS)

Integrating a WMS is the first step in automating your business. A WMS contains different modules that increase warehouse efficiency. It caters to anything from finances to inventory management. Take it a step further by using a conveyor system for transport needs. There are many types of conveyor belts. They work hand in hand with warehouse operations and parcel scanning systems

Throughput is relevant in choosing the type of conveyor system to use. This is one of the reasons you should calculate for throughput. Note that throughput and conveyor speed are inversely proportional to weight. The DWS contains the scale for weighing your products. However, too much throughput going quickly through the DWS lessens the accuracy of the weight. Make sure that your conveyor speed and throughput match the capabilities of your DWS. 

Space Optimisation 

Space optimisation is important in warehouse management. It is also crucial in avoiding many types of waste in your warehouse. To add to this, it plays a role in increasing throughput. A confusing layout always contributes to problems with warehouse efficiency. If your picking, packing, labelling, and shipping areas are far from each other, it can delay warehouse operations. This, in turn, will decrease throughput. 

Automating your warehouse helps you optimize space for warehouse efficiency. Some conveyor belts are specially designed to maximize current floor space. A WMS helps you avoid excess inventory, too. This way, there will be little need for additional storage space. 

 Avoiding Throughput Errors 

Avoiding throughput errors is essential for warehouse efficiency. Any problems or accidents always slow down warehouse operations. This affects the profitability of the business. To avoid throughput errors, take a look at the following: 

  • Operator Efficiency
  • Computer Hardware
  • Scanner Hardware
  • Scanner Software

Operator Efficiency

Operator efficiency refers to the capability of the staff to handle your system. Integrating a new WMS can be challenging. The operator should also have an understanding of the hardware. This means they know how to use computers or scanners. The products should make sense to the people handling them. In lean manufacturing, it’s called machine operator efficiency (MOE). Identifying efficiency helps identify staff that might need retraining There are many ways to improve efficiency in staff. This includes adding motivation and improving time management. Lessening small tasks also affects operator efficiency. This is where automation comes into play. Automating smaller tasks will allow the staff to focus on more complex tasks. This increases warehouse efficiency and profitability.

Computer Hardware

The computer hardware handles all of the automated processes. This means that the version of the operating system needs to be updated. Knowing the main components of the computer will also help the staff. The main components include: 

  • input unit
  • central processing unit 
  • output unit

Computers act like the brain of the system. Keeping your computer hardware in good shape assures a smooth-flowing system.  

Scanner Hardware

There are many types of scanners in a warehouse. Mobile scanners and parcel scanning systems help automate operations. Staff uses mobile scanners for inventory and stock. Scanning systems combine data about the parcel. This data includes dimension, weight, and appearance. The components of a scanner vary greatly depending on the use. 

With the variety of products in a warehouse, staff undergoes a lot of pressure. Research indicates that 80% of order picking is done manually. Pressure and overworking can lead to errors. Automating small tasks such as inventory management and restocking go a long way. These are key operations in achieving warehouse efficiency. Mobile scanners are highly reliable in maintaining the inventory of products. 

Parcel scanning systems, on the other hand, help in order fulfilment. They scan and track parcels. This makes sure that the orders are dispatched to the proper customer. An error in scanning results in rejected orders. These orders are then reprocessed before delivery. This delays and decreases your throughput. 

Scanner Software

The software you use is just as important as the hardware. Data management software takes all the various data and puts it together. This is important both in your warehouse management system and parcel scanning system. 

You can’t track the process in your warehouse without proper data. Having an integrated system allows you to use various data to keep operations going smoothly. Any problem with the data management software, and stops operations. The same thing applies to DWS. Data management software has a lot of features, depending on the needs of the company. 

To sum it up, the software is also useful for tracking your throughput. With a fully automated system, you can have a consistent throughput. If you want to increase throughput, just make sure that the hardware and software meet the requirements. 

Automating warehouse operations might be confusing at first. Find out how you can increase your throughput and warehouse efficiency today. Contact us at Qbasis!

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