5 ways to improve warehouse efficiency

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If you struggle to dispatch products on time, find it difficult to manage growing workload or simply can’t see beyond tonnes of boxes in your warehouse, then it’s time to review your warehouse strategy!

Your packaging operation is a good place to start because, whether you realise it or not, the packaging you use has a major impact on your supply chain performance and the costs involved.

Last year we conducted a survey which focused on packaging challenges in the automotive sector amongst OEM’s, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers. Managing multiple packaging SKUs and dealing with spikes in demand were among the key challenges facing respondents.

We have identified five ideas to help you improve your warehouse efficiency and overcome common issues in supply chain management.

1. Multiple SKUs

Finding the right box for each item you store can be time-consuming. Consider limiting your packaging selection to several solutions that fit different items in your range.

Tools such as custom-made carton size guide boards make it easy for packers to identify the best box for each product. Simply place your item on the board and select the box corresponding to the colour that fits it most. It’s such a simple and cost effective idea!

If your budget allows, consider switching to automated packaging solutions which automatically measure the height of your items and adjust the box size accordingly.

The auto-boxing machines also lid and seal boxes for you, increasing the speed of your packing lines. To find out more about packaging automation, visit: https://macfarlanepackaging.com/products/automation/

2. Better pallet utilisation

The above solutions will also help utilise your pallet space more efficiently.

Smaller, more compact packages are easier to stack and you can fit more of them on each pallet than you would otherwise. This allows you to transport more boxes in one go, potentially limiting the number of trips therefore reducing your CO2 emissions and transport costs.

3. Inadequate stock levels

If you hold high levels of packaging stock, consider changing your production method.

Just in Time (JIT) production, where products and packaging are stored offsite and produced to order for call-off the next day, is a great alternative. It will help you save rent and insurance, better manage spikes in packaging demand and free up cash flow as you only pay for stock when you use it.

Online purchasing management systems such as Macfarlane’s Customer Connect are worth researching too. They offer quick access to your packaging stock 24 /7, allowing you to view your purchasing history, check the status of your orders and re-order your products when and as required.

4. Packing stations

Well-arranged and adequately stocked packing stations are key to ensuring fast product despatch.

Warehouse accessories such as shelving and pick bins are perfect for organising your packing areas and helping reduce pick times. Temporary solutions can be folded and stored away in low-demand periods, maximising your floorspace either further.

Ensure your staff are familiar with your warehouse layout and know all the support available to them, including relevant training. This will increase the speed of your packing line while ensuring all products are packed to your standards.

5. In-depth packaging review

An in-depth review of your warehouse, packing stations and packaging will help you identify areas for improvement and suggest solutions to maximise your warehouse efficiency.

At Macfarlane Packaging, we will work closely with you to ensure your packaging operation runs smoothly. We can even design custom packing stations that meet your needs and requirements. Contact us today to find out more: https://macfarlanepackaging.com/contact/

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