If your goal as a warehouse operations manager is to use the physical space, equipment and labor resources you’ve been allocated to meet the needs of your organization’s customers, then achieving your goal requires you to get comfortable with ongoing change. Today, more organizations are taking a serious look at the impact their warehouse has on their bottom line and recognize that their operations have the potential to become not only a competitive advantage, but a growth enabler.

Efficient warehouse operations don’t happen by accident.

If you’re not making the best use of the planning and management of your warehouse operations, then you may be missing out on additional profits and increasing your market share. With a myriad of technology, systems, and performance metrics on the market, businesses have more tools available and great opportunities to improve their warehouse operations and to cut costs substantially. The key to improving your warehouse operations starts at the top. How does your organization view warehouse operations? Recognizing the true value of your warehousing and distribution operations and incorporating elements into your overall business strategy will help keep your warehouse operations nimble and responsive.

As the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) gains traction across market sectors, organizations increasingly look to leverage the advantages that new technology brings to deliver better customer service and stay ahead of the competition. Accenture predicts the value created by the IIoT could reach as high as $15 trillion by 2030, setting the stage for more productive and “intelligent” warehouse operations.

When looking to strengthen your warehouse operations, invest in the right tools. Today’s software programs can easily track stock, record storage locations or even monitor material movements using the simplicity of a web-connected tablet to create a warehouse inventory management system that can help you maximize your operational productivity.

Next, look at safety. Safety procedures are frequently disregarded in warehouse workplace environments. Since 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been setting and enforcing standards to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. When it comes to your warehouse operations, keeping those high-traffic areas clear not only mitigates workplace hazards, it can also dramatically boost warehouse productivity. Having a clear and documented plan for where and how shipping boxes, equipment or pallets are to be staged, unpacked and inspected, will help keep your employees’ safe—and your warehouse floor well-organized. And don’t forget to move items to their designated spaces quickly. Not only will it keep the floor clear—it will be easier to get to the items when you need them.

Management should ensure safety equipment is used at all times and conduct close interval inspection tours to eliminate any potential safety hazards. Most importantly, management should provide staff safety training and refresher courses to maintain continuous quality assurance, heighten awareness of safety issues, and ensure that the workplace environment is in safety compliance

It’s easy to overlook communications as a weak link in efficient warehouse operations. And yet, it is often the one area which is routinely overlooked by organizations. Why? Because communications are more than issuing policies or posting operational procedures. The performance of your warehouse operations hinges on keeping your team on the same page. That includes maintaining an open line of communication with your warehouse staff to capture their feedback and suggestions to address their concerns.

Warehouse operations are an integral part of your organization’s business and are key to your organization’s success. If you think your warehouse isn’t performing efficiently, start taking some steps to improve its operations. Strategy and Management, Inc. (SAMS) has years of experience working with a range of distribution operations. We help our clients improve the effectiveness of their warehouses by streamlining processes and leveraging industry best practices. To learn more about the range of Building Services we offer, contact SAMS today.