By implementing inventory software
, companies may be able to significantly streamline their warehouse operations. However, before businesses can use inventory technology
to realize increased efficiency and productivity, they need to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of their current processes.
In a piece for Logistics Viewpoints, Steve Banker highlights five types of delays and interruptions that may contribute to inefficient operations and reduced output.Defects
Product, packaging, and design defects that pertain to material handling (for instance, pallets and totes) can considerably delay operations. Rethinking designs or upgrading to a sturdier material handling infrastructure can mitigate these inefficiencies.Design
Delays that result from poor warehouse design can take numerous forms. An incohesive layout may result in workers and vehicles expending unnecessary energy to get from one area of a warehouse to another. Non-intuitive or convoluted warehouse navigation also wastes time, while sub-par inventory technology—spreadsheets, for instance—has the potential to introduce delays or complications.Employees
One of a company's key assets is its workforce. Employees who underperform, are frequently absent, often make mistakes or have bad attitudes can become a liability for a business.Management
Insufficient or nonexistent coaching, supervision and training may result in workers being left to their own devices, using outdated or needlessly laborious methods of completing tasks. This can jeopardize inventory compliance
, as well as waste money, resources and time.Planning
Warehouses that do not make full use of inventory management software
may fall victim to poor inbound and outbound planning, which could result in shortages or surpluses. Similarly, improper staff scheduling is likely to result in more or fewer workers than necessary being on the clock at a given time.The bottom line
"Productivity is not the only distribution goal companies pursue; improvements in service and quality are equally (and sometimes more) important," Banker writes
. "At times there are tradeoffs between these goals, but often less than companies realize. This is because mistakes are far more costly than most companies understand."
Firms hoping to reduce waste, streamline operations and expedite their processes by adopting or upgrading inventory software must first make sure that they have addressed shortcomings related to defects, design, employees, management and planning.