Using an operational assessment to analyze the way your warehouse works can be eye-opening. Oftentimes, these kinds of assessments and reviews are pushed off or rescheduled. However, taking this important step back to evaluate your operations can reveal gaps and show you new ways to improve. The process provides invaluable insight and can help your warehouse operate at a higher level. Learn more here about why your warehouse manager should be adopting this practice.
What is an operational assessment?
An operational assessment is the evaluation of the working effectiveness and suitability of a system through test methods. A warehouse manager should perform these test methods to achieve the following goals.
- Identify defects, gaps, and areas of risk in the space.
- Measure the adequacy of the output of the operations.
- Assess the reliability of the operations.
Benefits of using operational assessment in warehouses
Completing an operational assessment of your space yields a multitude of benefits for your warehouse or distribution center. The top benefits to be aware of are the following.
#1: Maximize Efficiency.
“That’s the way we have always done it.” Everyone has heard or used this phrase at one point in their careers. And as common as it is, this old standby is not a good reason to continue to execute the same way. In some cases, new requirements and processes were developed, but those changes were overlooked or not communicated. In others, no change was ever attempted. Simply put, we’re here to tell you that change is a good thing, and operational assessment can help you do it.
You will be able to improve by identifying overlooked opportunities and everyday obstacles in processes. You will also use the information to streamline your operations or possibly spark an idea for a new catalog of business. If the activity in your warehouse hasn’t changed for many years and has several redundant and unnecessary steps, an operational assessment will help you evolve. So, with review and enhancements based on the results, the overall operations of the warehouse can gain efficiencies while maintaining compliance.
#2: Identify Possible Enhancements.
When assessing the operations in your warehouse, manual workarounds, temporary fixes, and long IT enhancement lists are inevitable. To solidify this list and be 100% certain that you are making good investments in change, an operational assessment is the answer. As a result, it will provide a list of processes or systems that need enhancement. Information can be gathered to provide guidance on how to prioritize needed changes in the most efficient and compliant manner.
#3: Create Opportunities for Growth.
It is very likely that if you have never assessed your operations, your warehouse has been performing the same way, in the same vertical, with the same client for years. To expand your line of business, or as mentioned, start to serve a new customer or missed marketplace, use operational assessment. The process identifies which enhancements or changes will be needed to successfully grow your business.
Tips for optimizing your warehouse space
After performing operational assessment for many warehouses, we see a lot of missed opportunities for optimization. So, below are a few of our favorite tips for optimizing warehouse space.
- Size primary picking locations properly. Size your picking locations to match both the product demand and the products’ physical size. Empty space is wasted space. Keeping the picking locations full will open up space in the backstock areas.
- Depending on your replenishment process, you can end up with several partial pallets of the same SKU. If your system has the functionality, attempt “pallet consolidation” as much as possible. Develop a regular schedule to perform this task. You will identify similar pallets and merge them to free up additional secondary space for more product.
- Vary the location sizes in your pallet racking. All too often we see facilities where every pallet location is the same size. The result is many locations using only 30-50% of the space. Obviously, this represents a missed opportunity within your warehouse space.
- Identify obsolete inventory and liquidate it. Old inventory utilizes necessary storage space, becomes damaged and dirty over time, and incurs labor expenses when moved. In many cases, it is difficult to get rid of this product because Finance still considers it an asset to the business. In these instances, move the product to a less useful location and make sure you label it properly.
Specialized Storage Experts Can Help Your Business
The truth is that there are many different warehouse equipment companies that can help you. We want you to know that we are different. At Specialized Storage, we think outside the box to ask the right questions and develop a custom warehouse capacity solution for your business. One of our experts will arrive at your facility, ask questions about your business, and fully understand your needs and future objectives before making a recommendation. Our custom warehouse layout design plan will optimize warehouse capacity and help to improve your bottom line. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today!