04 Mar The 3 Most Common Warehouse Receiving Challenges…
…And How to Solve Them
This article originally appeared on Definitive Technology Group (DTG)’s blog.
Warehouse receiving impacts all aspects of operations, from inventory management to logistics. If not aligned with the changing needs of a growing business, picking, packing, and shipping can shrink its margins. In addition, with labor costs accounting for 50 to 70 percent of average warehouse budgets, wasted footsteps and employee errors cost money and reduce productivity.
By adding mobility to the warehouse receiving process, supply chain leaders can eliminate wasted movement and data entry errors. Replacing cumbersome manual procedures and paperwork with agile, efficient systems enables warehouse workers to execute at the point of task, reducing the likelihood of mislabeling, miscounting, or misplacing products during put-away.
Here are three reasons your warehouse receiving operations may want to look into mobile workstation carts:
Warehouse workers amass cumulative hours just by walking back and forth between receiving and storage areas to input data and print labels. In addition, fixed workstations require workers to adjust their schedules and workloads to perform specific tasks at precise locations. They may have to wait for other workers to complete tasks before accessing equipment. These restrictions can harm worker morale and productivity. Replacing fixed workstations with mobile receiving carts also frees up valuable warehouse space, which can help boost dock-to-stock cycles and eliminate bottlenecks in inventory management.
Workers who use mobile receiving carts can put their time to better use by inspecting pallets and scanning, printing, and applying labels at the point of task. This mobility helps reduce unnecessary labor while increasing accuracy and productivity. In addition, mobile receiving carts enable organizations to create value with fewer resources, a lean manufacturing principle. Applying lean processes can help companies drive productivity, quality, and profitability by identifying and eliminating redundancies and waste. Applying lean principles to the warehouse receiving process is best accomplished through objective, cost-benefit analysis of existing conditions to identify areas in need of improvement.
Inaccurate inventory data
Lack of visibility into inventory levels and storage locations is a common challenge in warehouse receiving that can lead to shortages, overstock issues, missing or misplaced inventory, and wasted steps, all of which affect a company’s bottom line. Stock shortages, shipping delays, and unfulfilled orders can make customers unhappy. Overstocked items are expensive to store and increase inventory carrying costs. The inability to pinpoint specific stock locations quickly means pickers will take longer to locate products, slowing the order picking process and creating even more scheduling delays. Mobile receiving carts eliminate these issues and improve accuracy by providing real-time, transparent access to inventory data, accelerating time-consuming manual stock checks.
An eCommerce fulfillment survey of 154 business owners found 34 percent of shipping delays are caused by businesses selling out-of-stock products, and 46 percent of respondents listed human error as a top issue in warehouse receiving. Warehouse receiving carts can help eliminate human error by facilitating on-the-spot stock checks and label printing. Having accurate, real-time data readily available decreases error rates by reducing the risk of workers overlooking, forgetting, or misinterpreting stock levels.
Poor facility layout
Poorly designed facilities reduce workflow speed and efficiency in numerous ways. For example, subpar layouts block access to equipment and inventory, requiring workers to navigate barriers and crowded warehouse floors. These workflow impediments slow down receiving and add repetitive motions to routine tasks. Another example is that receiving and storage areas, separated by large distances, require workers to travel back and forth repeatedly. In addition, manual warehouse receiving processes can place wear and tear on workers without standardized picking and packing routines. Mobile workstation carts can help overcome these challenges by enabling workers to use established, automated systems to receive, put away, and pick items quickly and accurately.
Success in warehouse receiving is not measured by square footage but by how efficiently available space is used. Deploying mobile receiving carts in conjunction with Lean Six Sigma processes will substantially improve warehouse receiving metrics by reducing redundant procedures, optimizing inventory access, eliminating waste, and mobilizing your workforce.
While warehouse management challenges may feel overwhelming, even impossible at times, it’s important to know that solutions are available. By taking a closer look at how your warehouse operates through the lens of Lean Six Sigma, you can define, measure, analyze, improve, and control your environment. Combining these principles with mobile workstation carts will enable you to address each of these common warehouse receiving challenges and create an entirely new, streamlined, efficient, and profitable warehouse.
Definitive Technology Group’s solutions combine innovation, ergonomics, and usability to meet your unique workflow and environment needs. Our rugged, dependable mobile workstation carts enhance mobility and speed in the warehouse by bringing employees and their technology to the point of task.
AB&R is proud to partner with DTG. Contact us with any questions or to see how a mobile workstation can solve your receiving department’s challenges.
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