The Warehouse industry is constantly evolving. Managing a warehouse in today’s climate can be challenging to say the least. This environment is driving change and revealing new trends and solutions to keep warehouse operations running at peak performance. 

The main challenges in the warehouse sector at present are:

  1. Staffing Shortages
  2. The rise in shipping/transporting goods
  3. Obtaining warehouse space is difficult. 

If getting hold of additional warehouse space or additional staff isn’t an option, better utilising existing warehouse space and employees is crucial to survival. Get in touch.

Below we offer some tips for consideration in the current challenging climate.

Re staffing shortages

Meeting customer demand and exceeding expectations on fulfilment and shipping time is a priority for online retailers and logistics partners. However, many businesses are falling short of the number of warehouse operatives needed to efficiently run the fulfilment process, adding further challenges to the industry.

Implementing technology such as an order management system (OMS) can help with this. Features offered by these systems allow businesses to become more efficient by using platform data to make more informed and calculated decisions around inventory and returns processes. And automating time-consuming tasks will not only save time but also help to reduce errors. This means warehouse workers can work smarter, freeing up time to allow for instances where there are potential staff shortages.

Efficiency is vital within warehouses and fulfilment, centres-ensuring orders are picked, packed and shipped as quickly and accurately as possible. Having a system that streamlines picking and despatch operations is a no-brainer. OMS ystems can provide an insightful overview of inventory – such as best sellers and less popular items making it easier to decide what and how much of particular stock you need, removing the risk of wasting precious warehouse space.

The rising cost of shipping/transporting goods

This problem is being felt globally. Regarding tackling this issue in your warehouse whilst remaining loyal, consider having open and transparent conversations; you could be surprised what you can negotiate. 

Additionally, have you considered or evaluated the following: 

Provide drivers with optimised routes. One wrong route can make all your planning efforts fall by the wayside. Drivers spend more time on the road stuck in traffic or travelling longer-than-necessary distances,. Leading to rocketing fuel usage and expenses. Add in overtime costs for drivers spending more time than estimated on the road, and the bottom line is looking even worse. To ensure accurate and well-optimised routes, consider using a route planner. This tool automates the route-planning process, factoring in traffic, weather conditions, one-ways, avoidance zones, weight and load capacity, and more.

Ensure regular vehicle maintenance. A breakdown is costly. Avoid breakdowns and keep your vehicles in top shape with preventive maintenance. Consider a program that tracks total distance travelled, number of stops and amount of fuel used, as well as regular vehicle inspections to look after the overall health of your vehicles. 

Eliminate failed deliveries. Sometimes, your drivers arrive on time, but the customer is unavailable. Such an event jeopardises your other deliveries or appointments and costs you more, as your drivers will need to return to that stop again. One of the most successful ways to improve first-time delivery success is by empowering customers to choose their preferred delivery windows. 

How to cost-effectively Maximise existing Warehouse Space 

If you run out of space for inventory in your distribution centre for any reason, there are several ways to increase capacity without expanding.

Evaluate: Can you extend your racks up vertically?

Extending racking vertically is usually an easy win in creating more warehouse storage space. However, rack extensions can have some pitfalls – for example, the racking uprights or base plates may not be appropriately sized. In that case, an approved inspector can advise whether a rack extension is a viable option.

Types of Warehouse Storage Racks 

One challenge to extending racking is finding the best kind of storage racks for the warehouse. Here are some more popular types of warehouse storage racks for your warehouse utilisation: 

  • Pallet Racking: Depending on your industry, your warehouse is already full of pallet racks. Using these essential racks, combined with a forklift and pallets, is one of the best ways to maximise your storage space if you have a variety of inventory types. 

  • Carton Flow Racking: These racks are ideal for FIFO (first in, first out) inventory processes. Carton flow racks have slanted panels that push down the older inventory, so it’s more easily accessible. 

  • Cantilever Racks: Cantilever racking is excellent for long inventory like piping, lumber, or steel trusses. These racks have protruding arms where stock gets placed. When extending these racks, take special care to consider if your employees will need extra equipment to reach stock at higher levels. 

  • Mezzanines: A mezzanine is a platform that extends storage space to a second level above your warehouse floor. Mezzanines are a bit of magic for warehouse utilisation and can also be used for offices and canteens as well as additional storage space.

We hope this has given you some ideas to consider for your warehousing business during these current challenges. If you’d like to discuss how Ikon can assist in extending, reconfiguring and optimising your warehouse space, get in touch. 

Improve the way your warehouse works

01773 718 719