Warehouse management is an intricate process: it involves meticulous organisation, maintenance, and visibility in order to be executed successfully. These processes need to be perfected – but that is easier said than done, because all of them are also prone to mistakes and inaccuracies.
In this blog, we discuss 8 of the most common warehouse problems, as well as ways to overcome them:
A disorganised warehouse layout is one of the most concerning problems for a warehouse. This is primarily because warehouse space is expensive, and if it is not organised properly then it can result in monetary loss as well as an overall gap that stops you from achieving the maximum potential of your business.
The solution, of course, is to put together a strategy for your warehouse layout. However, businesses lack in this area especially if they are relying on manual systems. This is because manual systems don’t grant you the level of advanced insight required to make your warehouse management a success, and hence can’t allow you to achieve an optimal warehouse layout.
For this reason, a disorganised warehouse layout becomes one of the most concerning challenges a business has to actively deal with in order to achieve overall efficiency and complete productivity in warehouse management.
One of the ultimate goals of a functioning warehouse is to safely and securely store your inventory. To that end, all the inventory management processes including inventory handling and inventory counts need to be done accurately because otherwise, you could end up having to deal with a totally chaotic warehouse environment!
Your inventory counts must be accurate because having too little or too much inventory has a direct impact on the customer experience you are providing. Too little could lead to stock outs and you missing out on orders, whereas too much would lead to an excess inventory crisis that jacks up your costs and causes more problems than you signed up for.
So – there is a pressure on warehouse operators and inventory managers to bring as much accuracy as they can to the inventory-related processes. Again, this is easier said than done. If you are executing these processes manually, you are way more prone to mistakes and inaccuracies – which can mess up your inventory count, which means you can easily get more or less than you need, and that will obviously cause problems in your overall strategy as well. To strike the perfect balance when it comes to your inventory is no easy task, and that is why this challenge is on our list!
While your warehouse should be highly efficient and advanced at all times, it is during seasonal peaks that you really have to depend on peak efficiency and speed. This is because seasonal shifts come with an influx of orders and increase in demand. In order to adequately accommodate these demands, you have to work on making your warehouse as advanced as possible – which is only possible with the integration of the right technology and tools, which can be hard to come by.
Not only that, but in order to support seasonal fluctuations, your workforce should also be prepared. This is even harder to achieve for business, and we will get into the details of it later but in general, what this means is that there are multiple facets of your business that must be properly streamlined if you plan on getting your warehouse and operations ready for some seasonal success.
And because they don’t know how to deal with seasonal shifts, many businesses end up losing ground during this time and hence, this is one of the primary challenges that you are likely to face during the managing process for your warehouse.
Order management is yet another area that leaves a lot of businesses struggling. Unless there is a certain level of integration between your sales channels and the back end of your fulfilment i.e. your warehouse and your inventory, you can not achieve smooth order management. Haphazard order management is problematic because it severely impacts your services and is easily reflected in the customer experience you provide and needless to say, it can really put your customers off! Haphazard order management should be avoided at all costs and again, technology is the only way you can avoid it in the longer run.
If you don’t have the right mechanisms in place to help you gain control of your order management methods, it means that you are severely lacking in that regard and there is a huge chance that sooner or later, you will end up being overwhelmed with orders you are receiving. Because it is an intricate process that involves many other aspects, it truly deserves attention-to-detail. Unfortunately, many businesses are unable to provide it with this attention given their existing logistical frameworks, and that is why they don’t achieve the perfect warehouse management processes.
The smooth functioning of your warehouse is highly dependent on your workforce. For optimal results, your labour must be highly optimised and productive, as this is the only way you can actually achieve efficiency and manage your warehouse as well as all your orders seamlessly. However, achieving an organised and efficient workforce is exactly what is one of the hardest components of warehouse management.
Think about it: executing warehouse processes all day long can be very tedious. It has a repetitive nature, which, when left to human beings, can really impact their productivity negatively and hence, your labour force can appear severely demotivated at times.
On the other hand, if your processes are automated, your labour won’t have to indulge in the long-winded, tedious tasks, and can instead focus on things that really do deserve human attention. This will energise them and allow them to be a lot more motivated to do their jobs properly. Yet, a lack of understanding and awareness in this area has led a lot of businesses to still be dependent on manual processes, and this is why they are likely to see a dip in their employee retention methodologies, which is why this manifests into a bigger problem than it has to be.
Damage is an unavoidable part of the equation when we consider warehouse management. If you are a warehouse that is routinely dealing with a large amount of inventory and heavy-duty equipment, then you are likely to experience damage of one sort or the other. While you can’t completely avoid damage, the problem arises when you don’t have the right tools and technology available to help you deal with it effectively, and this is exactly what you need to try and fix in order to get this particular problem completely under your control.
The main way to go about this, is of course, to get the right safety equipment. However, you also need to achieve a certain level of visibility, so that you can stay in touch with your processes at all times. This will enable you to keep a close eye on your operations, which will ultimately help you recognise the potential for damage beforehand and take the steps to avoid it promptly. It will also allow you to be in a better position to manage damage in case it does take place.
However, you do need the right tools in order to achieve this visibility, and it is only businesses who fail to do that that will have a hard time dealing with this particular problem.
Pick and pack processes can literally make or break your entire warehouse management strategy! The ultimate goal should be to make them as efficient and speedy as you can. Again, that is easier said than done because pick and pack processes, by nature, are dependent on your human labour and hence are more prone to delays and errors than any other process with your warehouse management framework. So, to make them work, you really have to put your best foot forward and actually work hard!
One way that your pick and pack processes can be made better is by making the whole thing as automated as possible. So, although the actual process will be executed by your staff, picking lists as well as pack slips can be generated automatically. Not only will this inform your staff better, but it will also result in considerably less mistakes and errors.
The problem, however, is that not all management systems can help you with this, and businesses really need to properly research and see which one will actually help them achieve their goals.
We have seen above that many major warehouse problems can be fixed if you are well-connected and integrated. However, that in itself seems to be a struggle for many warehouses. This is primarily because they lack the resources to achieve a well-integrated environment within the warehouse. This gap is problematic because it will definitely put you behind your competitors, and will also lead to unnecessary delays and inefficiencies. These will then also negatively impact the customer experience, and hence defeat the very purpose of achieving a warehouse management strategy that is properly streamlined.
Ideally, there should be a high level of connection and integration between your sales channels and all your logistics; but especially your warehouse. It is only with the help of this integration that you can actually achieve a high-functioning warehouse that is not only successful in its own regard, but is also a contributive part of your overall success strategy.
And if you are planning to actually introduce that kind of advancement to your business and warehouse, then you will have to take the help of the right technological solutions; of course. Manual systems cannot turn your warehouse into a productive ecosystem precisely because they don’t offer these integrations, so if you are still relying on a manual system, you know where it is exactly that you are actually going wrong with your overall strategy.
The only solution to all your warehouse problems is technology and automation, and particularly in the form of a wholly advanced warehouse management system. A warehouse management system is the perfect addition to your warehouse, because it will not only help you actively tackle all the problems we have mentioned above, but will also allow you to focus on your growth and overtake many other competitors present in the industry,
A robust warehouse management system will help you streamline your warehouse as well as many other aspects of your fulfilment strategy such as inventory, order processing, and your labour. As we have already seen, you need to achieve efficiency and advancement in all of these sectors, which is why it is more than important to have a reliable warehouse management system as it can help you achieve all of that.
Of course, you need to try and choose a warehouse management system that actually aligns with your needs, but as long as you do that you are good to go!
Warehouse management can be quite a hard nut to crack. However, with the help of the right tools and technology, you can simplify many of the problems you will face during the course of warehouse management.
For the most part, many of these problems can be tackled with the help of a warehouse management system. It will help you bring efficiency to your operations and will also make your whole workforce considerably more productive.
If you are looking for a warehouse management system that can actually help you make a positive change to your management strategies, check Canary7 out here.
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