Warehouse management is far from a science. It requires a lot of data, intuition, and experience to make the right decisions.
Of course, a bit of insight never hurts! That’s why we’ve curated this list of common warehouse management mistakes (and their solutions), so you can stay on the right track.
6 warehouse management mistakes and how to fix them
Mistake: Overordering or overselling
Overordering or overselling is a common mistake you’re bound to make at least once or twice in your manufacturing career. In either case, the problem is a mismatch of customer demand with available inventory.
This mistake nearly always leads to increased overhead and/or lost profits. Products that don’t sell take up space and financial resources, and products that sell out too quickly reduce your overall revenue. These are two outcomes you want to avoid at all costs.
Solution: Automated inventory tracking
Fortunately, new technologies like automated inventory tracking have made avoiding these outcomes significantly easier. This technology is designed to prevent overordering and overselling by automatically matching your inventory to current demand.
Automated inventory tracking uses trend analysis and predictive analytics to keep you on track. And in this case, machines are more accurate than warehouse managers. So this is a great way to give your team a break from crunching numbers manually and save your business resources and headaches in the process.
Mistake: Hanging onto old processes that don’t work anymore
This especially applies to processes that have become seriously outdated or are no longer viable.
Generally, this results from getting too comfortable and too stubborn to update your workflows. Tools like pen and paper tracking, spreadsheet analytics, and manual forecasting might all be processes you’ve mastered over the years. But with the newer, more effective tools available today, holding onto these older processes only slows your business down.
Solution: Use order and inventory management software
This is particularly true when you factor in the fact that your competition isn’t going to hesitate the latest and greatest tools. That means your business shouldn’t either.
Investing in order and inventory management software is a great way to keep your business on the cutting-edge. It’ll save you time, boost your productivity, and keep you in line with or even ahead of your competitors. It can take time to master these new tools, but it’s more than worth it in the long run.
Mistake: Inefficient storage
One warehouse management mistake that’s easy to overlook is storage inefficiencies. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have enough storage, but rather that you aren’t properly utilising the storage that you do have.
It’s no secret that storage space amounts to a lot of your overhead. This means you should be maximising every bit of space you have. Or, if you have too much space, then you should consider downsizing.
Solution: Make use of vertical space
There are several ways to efficiently use your storage space and ensure that you’re getting your true money’s worth. One of the key ways to do this is by using vertical space.
Your warehouse isn’t just the square footage it takes up but the vertical space it has to offer as well. Stacking, using shelves, and taking advantage of forklifts are great ways to maximise your storage usage.
Additionally, you should organise your warehouse as intuitively as possible. This lets you maximise your storage space while reducing the amount of time your workers spend combing through your inventory.
Mistake: Not considering safety
One of the most serious warehouse management mistakes you can make is underestimating the importance of workplace safety. There are tens if not hundreds of things that can go wrong at any given time in a warehouse, and nearly all of them result from human error.
Solution: Ensure all warehouse employees are properly trained
So how do you prevent making this mistake? Through proper staff training. Make sure that your employees are regularly trained on safety, that any new equipment comes with a fresh round of training, and that you conduct regular safety audits across your warehouse.
Mistake: Ignoring automation
In the manufacturing world, few tools are as powerful and reliable as automation. It allows businesses to boost their productivity, supplement labour shortages, and increase their overall consistency.
However, it can also be expensive, which is why it’s not uncommon for some warehouse managers to overlook automation altogether.
Solution: Use automation to streamline your processes
Overlooking automation is a pretty big mistake. It puts you far behind your competitors, makes it harder for your business to scale, and increases opportunities for human error.
Fortunately, solving this mistake is pretty straightforward: Embrace automation! While that may sound easier (and cheaper) said than done, it’s a crucial step in ensuring your long-term growth and success.
Mistake: Not making changes as your business grows
Finally, you want to avoid becoming stagnant, especially as your business grows. Otherwise, you risk reaching a level of growth that your workflows and tools are no longer equipped to handle.
Solution: Use an inventory and order management system that scales
To prevent this, you can update your processes as you go or invest in an inventory and order management system designed to scale with your business — instead of a system that hampers your growth.
Streamline your business with a cutting-edge inventory management platform
Now that you have an idea of which mistakes to avoid and how to avoid them, you’re ready to start building a set of warehouse management practices that will set you up for success.
And one of the best solutions is investing in a cutting-edge inventory management platform. Workhorse offers a configurable and scalable platform packed with tools and resources to help you succeed and grow. Reach out to our team today to learn more.