Four Quick Tips To Plan For The Future Of Your Warehouse
Everyone wants their warehouse to be “future proof”, don’t they?
Any warehouse manager who takes the time to review their current operations and plan likes to think they’ve got it all figured out. Of course, we all know what they say about the best laid plans of mice, men, and warehouse staff, and the odds are that your warehouse needs are going to grow, change, and evolve in ways you couldn’t have predicted when you started.
That’s not to say it’s a lost cause to try and plan for future growth and developments, though. The best warehouse growth plan is one that’s flexible and adaptable while still providing good benchmarks and a strong vision of where the warehouse should be when it’s all said and done. Here’s four fast tips we’ve found for compiling the best possible version of your warehouse while keeping one eye on the future:
Outline your current operation
The best way to plan is to understand where you are currently. Take some time to review your current procedures, goals, industry focus, and daily operations and see what you do currently, what you want to do, and what you could be doing better.
This extends to the warehouse itself. As needed, review any available floor plan or layout diagram to better understand how things get done. Take inventory of all your currently used warehouse racking and familiarise yourself with its usage, get a better idea of your current layout in regard to offices, shipping docks, and so on, and then make sure you know how all of your space is used (and start to get an idea of how it could be used better).
Understand your storage space and inventory needs
No matter how much your warehouse business may grow and change thanks to new clients or influx of product, some things about the nature of your warehouse will never change. You can accommodate this by taking stock of your current storage solutions (such as shelving and pallet racks) and comparing it to your expected inventory levels—do you constantly find yourself cramped for space? Are there racks that go underused because they were bought for a specific product that you no longer stock? Get an idea of what you carry, why you carry it, and where it goes.
Regular reviews of sales levels
Similarly, all the well-placed storage in the world isn’t going to do much to help if you’re storing the wrong items. A lot of people wait until right before or right after the holidays to track their sales figures and current inventory but doing year-round studies of sales figures (and other assorted financial reports such as taxes owed and operating expenses) can help you get a better holistic idea of your warehouse’s financial wellness. This will help inform many of the decisions you make regarding expansion and financial management going forward.
We all love a good spreadsheet, but in many cases, nothing can help you get a better ground-level idea of what’s going on in your warehouse than simply asking your staff. By regularly polling your staff on issues like safety concerns and operational changes they would make, you can get an idea of what your team would like to see changed, and these changes can sharply inform your decision-making process going forward.