Common Warehouse Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There’s no single way to manage a warehouse effectively. The experience of your staff, layout of the warehouse, and specifics of your supply chain will all affect how to best run your warehouse. But, there are some common rules that are wise to follow to effect the smooth, running of any warehouse, and some very common mistakes that companies get wrong all too often!

Here is our list of the most common warehouse mistakes and how to avoid them. We hope it gives you a few pointers on how to stay one step ahead when it comes to your warehouse management.

Don’t hold onto paperwork too long

In smaller warehouses, there is often a reluctance to adopt technology. Whilst this may seem a simpler approach, an excess of paperwork can slow processes down and cause delays. It may seem a huge effort to switch to a digital system, but a warehouse management system doesn’t have to be expensive or over complicated. There’s an upfront cost, but it will pay off in the long run.

Don’t hold onto excess stock

Despite the evidence that lean practice and inventory reduction is better for your business, holding onto old stock is still one of the most common warehouse mistakes made. Wholesalers are often found to be particularly guilty, in this regard, buying large quantities of products to make use of bulk discounts – which soon becomes unsaleable inventory. By reducing inventory levels, supply chains become leaner and less money is tied up in stock, resulting in stronger cash flow for the business.

Make sure health and safety management is up to date

Busy people, working with forklifts on high racking and heavy boxes is nothing less than a health and safety executive nightmare. No matter how tidy a warehouse may be it is still full of potential hazards. Good health and safety  practice within the warehouse will spot hidden hazards as well as the more obvious risks.

Optimise your picking paths

Picking paths can have a marked effect of supply chain cycle times, and labour costs too, as packers have to travel further and longer than they should. It’s not always easy to pick out a clear, straight picking run, but with some prior thinking, and a bit of time and effort, you can optimise routes to be as efficient as possible.

Keep the warehouse clean and tidy

Cleaning and housekeeping are usually at the bottom of the long list of priorities for warehouse manager. But aisles with old unused pallets, shrink wrap and messy loading docks are a common sight. These represent a safety risk, but it also a lack of efficiency. By keeping the warehouse space tidy, shifts can begin work on time without delay, and the risk of accidents and inefficiency are greatly reduced.

Lack of staff development

When schedules are busy, budgets tight and time pressures ever present, staff development and training become low priority. However, in a high risk environment, it’s vital that employees receive the training they deserve, and have their development needs provided for, opening up options for individual growth. It’s an important fact to remember that it costs less to keep existing employees motivated and engaged than to rehire and train new staff. By taking the time to engage in staff training and development, you can build a strong workforce of competent and committed employees.

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