Everyone working in the warehouse business can tell you just how vital the put away process is to the overall efficiency and day-to-day running of a warehouse. The put away process includes the initial placement of goods which will have a direct impact on all subsequent warehouse processes – particularly the picking process.
Having a put away process that is not up to standards could mean an increase in traveling time when packing and picking product. There is also a risk that the security and integrity of the cargo and safety of the employees is at higher risk. To avoid this and create as much productivity and efficiency within your warehouse as possible, check out these 10 really easy tips to optimize your warehouse put away process.
1. Collect the Correct Data and Analytics
Before your put away process even begins, you are going to want to collect the correct data in order to make this go as smoothly as possible. Consider your goals, you want to find the most optimal storage location for product. With this in mind, consider noting cargo size, weight, height, receiving and shipping frequency, the cargo type, sales volume, current storage availability, and any other data you feel would be useful.
2. Create a Timeline to Stick to
As items are received, they should be put away as quickly as possible. This will help clear space for more incoming items, and make fulfilling orders simpler and hassle-free. In order to make this process as quick as possible, create a timeline with well-coordinated directions for every employee. Remember, a slow put away process could mean delayed order fulfillment, held up shipping, or congestion on the warehouse floor.
3. Modernize Your WMS
A dated warehouse management system (WMS) can slow down your warehouse and make it more difficult to create an efficient and seamless put away process. A quick way to optimize this is to invest in a modern warehouse management system that can seamlessly communicate with your ERP (or other homegrown software) and expedite receiving capabilities. This will not only speed up the put away process, but make product ready for pick up.
4. Make Sure Items Are Placed Correctly the First Time
Pickers will go out on your warehouse floor expecting to find items in their designated areas. If your put away employees are not placing product in the correct spaces on their first try, customers might receive an incorrect order or their shipment will be delayed.
In order to minimize this from happening, follow your warehouse management software instructions to store the item in a specific slot. Your warehouse employee will need to scan the barcode or RF tag on the item as well as the slot to improve accuracy.
5. Minimize Damaged Items in Put Away Process
Items can become damaged during the put away process for a number of reasons, including being handled and moved around too roughly. They can also be hit by moving vehicles such as forklifts if left in the incorrect area, or stepped on by people walking by.
In order to prevent this, create an efficient put away process, and hold each member of staff accountable for their part of the process. A proper warehouse management system will help to provide a straightforward and successful process with minimal room for error.
6. Track All Item Locations Correctly
If you are not tracking or making notes of where every unique product is being put away, you will have to rely on workers’ knowledge and memory. While this might work for very small operations, the larger your warehouse stock becomes, the more difficult this will be.
Find a system that will display real-time reporting, so that you never have to go searching for product or rely on another employee’s knowledge of where it might be.
7. Count Items Before They Are Put Away
When new product arrives at the receiving dock, you should appoint a specific member of your team to count it and verify all product has been received. Where many warehouses go wrong is ending the counting process here. Product should be counted a second time as the worker places it on the shelf. Knowing where items are is important, but having an idea of the current quantity is essential.
8. Reduce Traveling Time
You have probably heard this before, but it cannot be reiterated enough. Creating a map in order to reduce travelling time from the receiving area to the final location where the product will be stored is an essential piece when optimizing the put away process. Go over this route with all employees, and make sure they are following it every time new goods are received.
9. Use Direct Put Away When Possible
Direct Put Away is a great practice to use in order to increase speed and efficiently. In this method, cargo is directly moved from the receiving area to its final destination without going through a staging phase. Chosen staging locations are not required, so this particular approach requires less handling and less space within the warehouse to be completed.
*Note – in order to complete this practice, your WMS will need to have the capabilities to assign final locations from Advance Shipment Notice as soon as the cargo is delivered at the receiving dock.
10. Keep Warehouse Clean and Organized
While this point may go without saying, you would be surprised how many warehouses are not particularly clean or organized. This truly makes all the difference in running an efficient put away process, and should not be taken lightly.
A cluttered or disorganized warehouse will have an immediate impact on the amount of time it takes to put product away, and locate it later on. Even if you are using the most modern warehouse technology and have a streamlined process, you need to keep your warehouse clean and organized to guarantee efficiency.
Optimizing the put away process and increasing warehouse efficiency can be done with these simple and easy-to-incorporate tips. Take the time to consider the practices your warehouse could improve on, such as investing in a more current WMS technology, reducing travel time, collecting necessary data before the put away process, and creating a streamlined plan that can be executed efficiently by your team.