Whether it’s Sydney or Los Angeles, warehouses across the globe are constantly trying to improve their operation. When you run an online business, then it’s imperative you have an efficient warehouse that runs like clockwork. The online shopping platform might be the face of your company but the warehouse is the place where the magic truly happens.
In the shipping and storage industry, the term “product velocity” marks the time a single item takes to sell, i.e. enter and leave the warehouse. You can speed up this process if you determine which products are high in demand and literally race through the warehouse.
The bottom shelves or area near the exit are ideal for such items, as they allow for easy access. On the other side, products that tend to stay in the warehouse for months on end should be placed in the far corner of the building and on higher shelves.
Extending the shelving
Speaking of shelves, you want to maximize the vertical space the warehouse has to offer. Extending the shelves all the way to the roof is a great idea, as you get extra storage room. Higher shelves that can only be accessed using a heavy-duty forklift are ideal for bulkier items and products that sell poorly.
The downside of extending the shelves all the way to the ceiling is the material the roof is made from. This can be a problem during summer but even November can be hot in Australia, so opt out of metal sheets as a roofing material.
Although you might think of slate roofing as ideal for residential structures, they can be used for commercial buildings as well. Nowadays, roof repairs in Sydney are easy to allocate, so you won’t have too much trouble with maintenance. Also, a good solution for some parts of your warehouse could be a custom engineered louvred roof.
The width of aisles
Some warehouse owners like to narrow the aisled between shelves as much as possible but this isn’t the safest solution. Namely, the aisles need to be wide enough for forklifts to maneuver safely, i.e. make a 180 degrees turn.
The last thing you want is for a forklift or a pallet loader to known over a product or even worse, a whole row of shelves. If possible, the shelves, especially the ones that extend all the way to the roof should be bolted down to the floor.
The bigger the warehouse, the more important proper labeling is. In a fully-automated warehouse, labels are the heart and soul of the entire process. An improperly labeled product will cause delays in the delivery process, making the customers unhappy despite excellent digital marketing strategies. Investing in trustworthy inventory tracking is one of the most lucrative investments you’ll make as an e-commerce business owner!
What is your packing strategy?
Repacking items is a common practice in warehouses, especially during the holiday season when customers want their orders packed as presents. An e-business with a lethargic picking and packing strategy stands little chance of attracting shoppers. Late fall is the ideal time for rethinking your packaging strategy to make it more efficient. In order to cope with high demand, entrepreneurs often outsource this service.
Warehouse management software
Gone are the days when the Australian transport and storage industry was analog. Today, warehouse management software does most of the work, tracking inventory, and optimizing warehouse operations by default. However, just because you use such software, it doesn’t mean that warehouse efficiency is up to modern standards.
A WMS needs to be integrated with other tech solutions to fully automate the order fulfillment process. Just like you buy the latest models of forklifts, you should update the warehouse management software as often as possible.
Size does matter
For an e-commerce business, a bigger warehouse isn’t necessarily better. The size of the building should depend on the volume of items entering and leaving the warehouse on a daily basis. When your business grows, you can always rent or buy a bigger storage unit.
An e-commerce business relies more on warehouse efficiency than a brick and mortar business. Since operations are centralized, the warehouse must function impeccably. From the loading bay to the top shelves, the travel time of each parcel should be decreased to the maximum.
Published by Lena Hemsworth