Beyond Shipping: How To Level Up Your Warehouse Operations

Author: Vanessa Holwell

The place you put your inventory does more than just push goods out the door. It’s there to store products and serves as a shipping and staging area. It’s the first and final destination for all
products, raw and finished, that leave your back bay doors. There are two major factors in how efficient your warehouse is: technology and people. Let’s take a look at how to ensure that you have the right mix of each.

Technology

 Technology comes in many forms, from the scanning and barcode system you use in receiving to the Artintech Inspax conveyance software used when inspecting your trucks and trailers. A few types of technology that can help
speed things up to include:

    • Advanced hardware. Your computer systems must be capable of handling processes throughout your organization. This may include multiple software programs as well as email and word processing. Look for a computer system with machines that have plenty of RAM, which can help you avoid slowdowns. For most, 16 gigs of RAM will boost network capabilities and ensure your team’s individual systems can handle whatever programs are installed.
    • Supply chain management. Your Artintech ProcéPax supply chain management software is with you every step of the way. This program helps you keep up with your suppliers, control your inventory, and know when, exactly, it’s time to reorder. You can use it to keep up with multiple warehouses and, as an added benefit, Artintech ProcéPax integrates seamlessly with your current accounting and CRM software.
  • Field personnel management. If you have a dispersed team, keeping everyone on the same page is challenging. With effective tools to connect office and field staff, you can take advantage of real-time updates from field personnel, boost scheduling efficiency, and reap the benefits of creating invoices at the drop of a hat.

Because of the nature of technology, it’s crucial that you continually test your systems to identify and repair any potential intrusion points. Hackers can – and will – find any vulnerabilities
in your systems. If you don’t already have an IT department in place, look for an ethical, or white hat, a hacker that can perform a “pen” test at least once each quarter. This is a process by which your hacker attempts to penetrate your defences. It’s much cheaper to fix problems early on than it is to partner with a data recovery firm and hope that you regain access to important files. Before
you hire a hacker, research their professional reputation by looking for reviews from other customers.

 

People

The people in your organization are what makes it move. Without them, your technology efforts will go to waste. Aside from a warehouse manager, consider hiring for the following roles to keep things moving.

    • Put-away specialist. While your receiving staff will ensure that goods have made it to your warehouse in full and intact, your put-away staff will make sure that inventory is stored most efficiently. This utilizes your warehouse space to its maximum capacity.
    • Dedicated pickers. Warehouse picking is more than simply grabbing materials from its storage area. You’re picking staff should be intimately familiar with picking best practices and able to easily learn your picking processes and hardware, including wearable scanners.
  • Shipping clerk. Your shipping clerk plays a huge role in the movement of parts and supplies. They may also
    serve as a record keeper and inventory tracker. According to CareerExplorer, most shipping and receiving clerks are detail oriented, meaning they will pay close attention to the information they provide.

 Your hiring process should include multiple
interviews with someone from each department to ensure compatibility with your organization. Among other things, you want your staff to evaluate whether the potential candidates fit with company culture, which is a crucial component to your – and their – success.

With an additional 1 billion square feet of warehouse space needed in the United States alone within the next four years, it makes sense to ensure that yours is ready for growth now. This is especially true if you are an e-commerce, an industry that continues to grow at breakneck speeds. Your warehousing operations have to do more than just serve as a point of departure. The technologies and people above ensure this and help you achieve growth as the world continues to rely more and more on companies to get products in and out the door quickly.

Author’s bio: Vanessa Holwell and her husband, Rick, created HiringSquad.net after losing their jobs during the financial crisis in 2008. The site is designed to be a forum for people to share advice on how to get hired, provide job search resources, and give you the tools you need to get the job you want.