Six Steps to a Highly Efficient Warehouse

Many businesses are happy as long as the orders are rolling out on time and customer deadlines are met. However, in many cases the efficiency of warehouse can be drastically improved, which in turn can reduce unnecessary expenditure. From shelving systems to software and order profiling, these are six practical steps to an even better warehouse management system.

Product Profiles

Use stock keeping units (SKUs) to profile your items. Your SKUs will probably be changing according to product life cycle or the seasons. Therefore, it’s important to keep track of the highest volume orders and set out your warehouse to optimise pickup. This will reduce pickup and order fulfilment times. Depending on how much product turnover you have, you might need to update these product profiles every six months, or even more frequently.

Pick Ups

It can be useful to map out the pickup route of your pickups and how pickers work with each dispatch.

  • Check your pickup routes. Do you need to fix routes for staff to improve pickup times? Do your pickup routes say something about how your warehouse items might be better stored?
  • How many products with each pickup? Would it be more efficient for your staff to do multiple batch pickups than single pickups?
  • Review product routes and update your warehouse layout according to product demand and seasonal variations.

High Activity Zones

Designating high activity zones will make your dispatch process much more efficient. How you set up your zone will depend on your products, product range, and how widely or narrowly your sales are distributed among different product categories.

  • If 70 per cent of your sales are made along 30 per cent of your product line, your warehouse can definitely benefit from setting up high activity zones that are closer to the delivery exits to shorten pickup, packing and dispatch times.
  • These high activity zones and traffic ways should have their own specific working guidelines and safety procedures, as well as their own equipment and layout.
  • A denser layout may help improve efficiency by reducing travel times between spots. Staff can be rotated between high and low activity zones to ensure they’re not burnt out.

Technology and Software

Keep your warehouse management software up to date. Your software should:

  • Sequence orders effectively for distribution.
  • Help you group same zone orders.
  • Allow user to mark difficult items and continue to alert other users to these times that need special attention, such as heavy equipment for pick up.
  • Allow managers to obtain an instant overview of things such as inventory levels and staff productivity.

Conveyer belts and other technology solutions can minimise walking times between spots for your staff and prevent back or other physical injury.


Multi-level pick towers, such as those incorporating pallet racking, can significantly boost performance and reduce dispatch times. They also help you make better use of precious space, multiplying your existing storage space many times over. Co-ordinate your storage solutions with zone layouts and product profiles for best results.

Incentives for Pickers

Support pickers with an incentive program for good performance. Use an accurate key performance indicator to measure staff productivity and tie remuneration to productivity in a fair and transparent manner.

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