Why warehouse optimization is more important than ever

Peter Tulisaari

By Peter Tulisaari Director of Business Development at King Solutions

moving fast in the warehouse

Speed and efficiency in the warehouse have always been important in logistics management, but the recent capacity crunch has given warehouses a new sense of urgency when loading and unloading trailers.

The capacity crunch is playing a role
There are fewer carriers on the road, yet more freight is being shipped nationwide. This has caused a severe imbalance in the load-to-truck ratio. Freight volumes are at near record levels, and carriers are working overtime to keep up. This means that they are moving faster than ever. It also means that they are charging more for the freight they haul.

What do loading speeds have to do with carrier rates?
It’s simple: many carriers are avoiding warehouses that are experiencing severe dock congestion. The only way to entice carriers to slow down their routes at these warehouses is to pay more for their services. Dock congestion may be causing the rates you pay to increase.

This brings us to the topic of warehouse optimization, particularly loading procedures. If you are looking to increase your loading speeds and decrease dock congestion at your warehouse, follow these tips:

Placement matters
Where you place products in your warehouse has a huge effect on your picking speed. More commonly picked items should be located on the ground level and closest to the loading dock. Save the corners of your warehouse and upper levels of your storage shelves for products that are not purchased as often. It may only save a minute or two, but multiply this by hundreds and thousands of picks and you will save a lot of time on each load.

Group SKUs
Items should also be placed intuitively in your warehouse. This means placing items that are commonly purchased together near one another, reducing the amount of distance warehouse workers need to travel to pick and pack them. You can set up group zones within your warehouse where commonly picked SKUs can be stored. This allows your workers to pick items in batches, rather than individually.

Keep aisles clear
Setting aside separate areas of the warehouse, ideally near the loading bay, where pallets can be built and wrapped will keep your aisles clear so that workers can continue to navigate the warehouse without encountering obstacles. This will also help you prevent damage to products and injuries to workers.

Use your data and business intelligence
Active tracking of product movement, seasonal trends and other consumer trends will help you organize your warehouse each season to increase efficiency. A warehouse is always a work in progress and should be reorganized seasonally to shift to consumer buying trends.

If you’re struggling, outsourcing can help
Warehouse management is not easy. It’s also time-consuming and can be very expensive. When you outsource your warehousing and fulfillment with an asset-based 3PL, you will share the cost of warehousing with many other businesses and the 3PL itself. You also gain access to a team of experts who understand how to increase efficiency and find carriers to haul your products anywhere. At King Solutions, we help businesses solve their issues of warehouse inefficiency. It’s one of our many services. Get in touch with us today to talk about how we can bring efficiency to your entire business.