Optimizing loading and unloading procedures at warehouses

Alex Robertson

By Alex Robertson Business Development at King Solutions

In this “need it there yesterday” world, shipping speed is an essential component of customer service. As it’s a key performance indicator that can help ensure return business, it’s one that shippers are constantly striving to perfect in any way possible.

While multiple factors determine how fast an item gets shipped, reducing loading and unloading times should remain a main focus for shipping teams. This is because it’s a factor they can directly control.

Once items leave the warehouse, that’s when things can get a bit more unsure. Loads are often subject to factors entirely out of the shipper’s control. While strategic route planning can certainly help carriers deliver freight quicker, they’re ultimately at the whim of construction, traffic, harsh weather and other uncontrollable obstacles and conditions.

In the end, reducing the amount of time freight spends getting on and off of trucks at the warehouse is one of the best ways to reduce shipping time. 

Here are the ins and outs of the ons and offs.

Focus on inventory layout

The layout and organization of your warehouse plays a critical role in the reduction of shipping time. By simply placing more common items closer to the loading bays, teams can shave crucial minutes off the entire process. When spread out across all the items to be picked for a single truckload, this strategy amounts to a far more efficient and expedient loading process.

Saving time is also a matter of keeping more popular items at the ground level. Basically, it takes longer to “pick vertically” than it does to “pick horizontally.” While it’s often necessary to store items vertically, simple identification of common items and organization can greatly reduce shipping times.

Implement smarter picking processes

Many warehouse labor resources are devoted to picking and packing orders, which can be made more efficient using lean tactics and other organization strategies, such as:

  • Using batch or cluster order picking to reduce travel time within the warehouse.
  • Using numbered systems (SKU, PLU, etc.) or RFID tracking to reduce the chances of mispicked items.
  • Setting up grouped zones in the warehouse where commonly picked SKUs (or SKUs that are commonly picked together) can reside.

Pick a smart logistics partner

When it comes to guaranteeing customer satisfaction and return business, shippers should undoubtedly be focusing on improving the speed and accuracy of their shipments. At King Solutions, we help companies improve their shipping times by offering warehousing and fulfillment services that are both fast and reliable.

Ready to get your warehouse in order? Contact our team today to learn more about what we do, how we do it and how we can help your company succeed.