Good Warehouse Management Key to Improved Product Flow
Inbound and outbound logistics are among the most complicated functions of running any business. Effective warehouse management is essential to these processes. Get it wrong, and you’ll be stuck with low staff morale, poor customer satisfaction and dwindling profit margins. Get it right, and you set your business up for success with reduced losses and delays and improved product flow.
At On Time Delivery & Warehouse, we understand that the best warehouse management and distribution practices include more than just moving and tracking goods. Communication, transparency, honesty, responsiveness and the willingness to always go the extra mile are also imperative. As a third-party logistics (3PL) provider, we wear many hats in order to offer our customers an all-in-one solution.
2020 Underscores Dependable Warehouse Partner Value
Many businesses have long recognized the value of dependable warehousing partners, especially in recent years through international trade disputes, fierce competition in e-commerce markets, natural disasters and everyday battles to keep costs in check.
But in 2020, 3PL warehousing partners became a lifeline. The pandemic set off massive global supply chain disruptions, dramatic swings in consumer demand and wildly fluctuating transportation capacity. Companies working with 3PL warehousing teams were still caught in the storm – but they had lifeboats.
Our team, for example, worked by the minute to help clients reroute shipping, alter transportation modes, monitor time-sensitive inventory, scale fulfillment up/down and secure the necessary trucking capacity to match these new plans.
Looking ahead, retailers and business-to-business operators must recognize that with supply chains that are increasingly global, there will be constant curveballs. The more unpredictable things are, the more businesses rely on 3PL transportation and warehousing firms with the right resources and connections.
How Good Warehouse Management Keeps Your Goods Moving
Working with a 3PL warehouse management team does have some upfront costs. But when your partner keeps your products moving and your customers happy, your overall costs are lower long-term. Some of the ways we do this include:
A recent survey by Inbound Logistics, almost half of shippers stated they are constantly seeking ways to streamline and improve their business processes. The same percentage said they struggled with finding, training and keeping qualified labor (a significant uptick from when just 20 percent cited the same issue).
Inventory tracking is one of the most essential services warehouse managers provide. Even firms with relatively simple supply chains benefit from knowing which SKUs are in stock at which warehouses and at what levels. You also want to know if those items are in transit from the manufacturer or en route to the retailer/customer.
Efficient inventory management will allow you accurate, timely insight into how much product is ready to be shipped and when it’s time to order more (especially valuable for growing businesses expanding into new locations or product lines). It also offers transparency to customers. Inbound Logistics reported last month that nearly 7 in 10 consumers feel inventory visibility across platforms is a top factor in their buying choices.
Picking and Packing.
These are two critical functions performed in a warehouse that keep your products moving. Technology has evolved by leaps and bounds on this front in recent years, with internal systems generating pick lists that allow each workers to retrieve items in the way that is most efficient. Some tactics include batch picking, zone picking and wave picking.
Pickers then hand those items off to packers, who carefully arrange them securely in poly mailers or boxes, along with any necessary packing materials and shipping labels.
Receiving and Storage.
Warehouses are constantly receiving freight and inventory from trucks at loading docks. Those items need to be carefully unloaded and stowed in designated storage locations inside the warehouse. Our warehouse management software tracks every step of this process and includes clear instructions so every member of the team has clear directives for how items are to be received, unpacked, picked, packed and shipped.
One of the benefits of working with On Time Delivery & Warehouse is that you have the advantage not only of warehousing and logistics services, but also trucking. These include large trailers, box trucks, same-day and next-day service, hot shot services, liftgate deliveries and Haz-Mat certified services and more.
Shipments are trackable with transparent software systems.
Warehouse management should offer you operational and inventory reports indicating fulfilment order accuracy, a by-the-hour breakdown of total fulfilled orders, how timely orders were shipped and more.
We can also offer forecasting reports to help clients anticipate how costs may vary in the days, weeks and months ahead.
Operating your own warehouse requires so much more than just space. You need to ensure you have employees with the right kind of training, licensure and certification necessary to operate certain types of equipment. You also have to meet a host of regulatory requirements to maintain safety protocols – not only for your products, but your people. Working with a 3PL warehouse management system takes this and other responsibilities off your plate so you can focus on what YOU do best.
If you have questions about how our Cleveland warehouse management team can help drive down your costs and improve efficiency, we offer custom quotes and consultations.
Contact On Time Delivery & Warehouse by calling (440) 826-4630 or send us an email.
Consumers Set Their Sights on Visibility, Oct. 14, 2020, By Jaclyn Ix, Inbound Logistics
More Blog Entries:
3 Ways 3PL On Time Delivery & Warehouse Helps Simplify Your Supply Chain, Aug. 30, 2020, Cleveland Warehouse Management Blog