Common Challenges in Managing a Warehouse

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A number of challenges can routinely affect the supposedly smooth operations in a warehouse. Underestimating small challenges can end up causing bigger unforeseen problems. Let’s face it; managing a warehouse takes a lot of time, energy, and planning. A successfully ran warehouse, however, is a huge asset and savings to any company. Here are the common challenges warehouse managers face and the ways these can be avoided:

Managing Space Utilization and Layout

When warehouse spaces are not fully optimized, this leads to wasted time in the pickup, storage, and delivery of products.  Designing a system that will help automate movement to the right location will be beneficial to the whole process. A space separate from the docks and designated specifically for returns will also reduce confusion. An efficient return merchandise authorization (RMA) management process should be set up for fast and easy return workflow.

Conveyor belt in a warehouse

A number of solutions can be followed to optimize warehouse organization. For one, regular cycle counts will help ensure every countable inventory is in its rightful place. Another solution is to increase vertical reach, if applicable, for certain warehouses. Making use of vertical lift modules can maximize storage and make use of empty spaces more efficiently. Finally, a warehouse layout should be patterned according to inventory boosts. For example, a fast-moving inventory should not be placed at the rear end to avoid needless work of having to move other products and supplies to get to it.

Manual Inventory Tracking

A breakdown in inventory accuracy and tracking can be traced to several areas, including labeling issues, miss pulls by human error, disorganized pickup and delivery locations, among many others. An inefficient and inadequate inventory system can be costly to any business. It can affect a lot of aspects; for example, excess inventory can lead to negative cash flow, warehouse space issues, and poor customer service.

Investing in automated warehouse management will reduce this redundancy in the manual process. It will also provide better stock visibility and inventory accuracy.  There are a number of management systems on the market that enable warehouse POS channels to sync with the different transactions and create a comprehensive inventory system. With these systems, real-time inventory can be seen with just a few clicks.

Redundant Processes

Worker scanning barcode of package in warehouse

Generally, a single ticket or documentation passes through a number of hands in a warehousing system. This is a notable redundant process in warehouses which can lead to an increase in labor costs and a decrease in work efficiency and productivity. Warehouse managers should reevaluate current processes and streamline the workflow to eliminate these redundancies.

But a lot of warehouses are now shifting to the utilization of modern barcode technology. This technology basically removes the need for staff to key in all activity documents between movements and counts.

Lack of Communication

This can be a huge challenge in many different industries as it leads to a number of problems, including confusion and disagreements among team members and even customers. On the other hand, effective communication in the workplace produces maximum productivity. By scheduling regular meetings dedicated to collective problem solving, warehouse managers can make incremental and essential updates in their processes and systems. These meetings should encourage open communication and unified understanding between employees and management.

Warehouse management plays a critical role in the supply chain of any business and its efficiency. Nonetheless, it is true that warehouse management is not a simple task. But knowing the common challenges will help any manager prepare and plan ahead for a smoother and more efficient warehouse system.

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