As order volume continues to rise, warehouses and distribution centers of all shapes and sizes must readily adapt to stay ahead of demand. With so many optimization opportunities available, it may be difficult to choose where to start. As leaders in scalable implementation, TPI recommends starting with one of the major four pillars of efficient warehousing:
- Inbound receiving docks – Over 50% of warehouses big and small currently struggle with establishing efficient product identification at the point of reception. This means that as products leave the receiving dock, they may be stored improperly, leading to depreciation, complex pick paths, surprise out-of-stocks, and delays.
- Inventory management – Most storefronts struggle to keep accurate inventory counts above 60%, which is why real-time visibility systems such as automated data capture and RFID technology have become increasingly popular.
- Order picking – Order fulfillment alone can account for over half of total operational costs. Paper-based reporting and manual data entry can further increase costs by draining labor expenses and creating bottlenecks.
- Outbound shipping – As orders move from the warehouse to the end user, orders must be accurately verified to minimize reverse logistics costs. Nevertheless, 23% of online orders are shipped incorrectly and returned, negatively impacting the customer experience.
How to get started
After narrowing down where you can start, TPI works alongside your team and leading manufacturers such as Zebra Technologies to develop adaptable digitization solutions using intuitive enterprise-grade devices. When optimizing the four pillars, solutions often include:
- RFID-enabled visibility – Unlike traditional systems, RFID visibility gives front-line workers real-time insight into inventory location, storage environments, and demand levels. Zebra’s industry-leading RFID scanners and printers simplify deployment by prioritizing user-friendliness and ergonomics for fast undisruptive deployment.
- Enterprise-ready labeling – As more inventory moves around the warehouse, proper identification systems must be in place to avoid misplacements. That means labels should be designed with stronger adhesive and scratch-resistant coating to prevent early peeling and fading.
- Mobile computers – To further increase throughput without overworking your teams, mobile computers streamline crucial tasks such as data capture, order processing, inventory management, and workforce communication all through one device.
- Automated barcode scanning – Manual data entry is oftentimes the culprit behind massive bottlenecks, data entry errors, disengaged workers, and complicated workflows. Handheld computers and hands-free scanners assist workers in keeping track of in transit products while updating management systems in near real-time.
If you still aren’t sure where or how to start, reach out to TPI’s optimization experts and begin with a comprehensive assessment of your growing business to best target optimization opportunities in your workflows.