Warehouse operations is a uniquely choreographed dance of humans, forklifts, inventory, automation, and the rising pressure of same-day fulfillment. Everything needs to go right to ensure success, but there are many mistakes that can lead to increased costs, delayed shipments, and safety incidents. We give you the rundown of the top 3 mistakes warehouse managers make and how to avoid them!

#1. Lack of Inventory Accuracy

Accuracy is the common thread that drives success in warehouse operations. There is nothing more important. If you don’t have a Warehouse Management System (WMS) and are relying on traditional processes,   inventory tracking is nearly unachievable in a distribution center. No WMS typically means DC’s aren’t utilizing RF barcoding scanners or mobile devices to verify picks, and real-time accuracy of warehouse inventory cannot be realized. Without the correct mix of software and hardware tools in the warehouse, wrong orders will be shipped out at an average of 10-15% error-rate, leading to heavy restocking and shipping costs.

How to Avoid:

Adopt a flexible WMS that can scale to the needs of your operations paired with wearable technology that allows your workers to pick, pack, and ship orders accurately, avoiding costly pitfalls of paper and traditional order-picking practices. The Rufus Wearable Platform integrates seamlessly with scalable web-based WMS solutions like Oracle Netsuite, SAP WMS, and Fishbowl WMS to enable warehouse workers to perform accurately and efficiently 24/7.

#2. Ignoring Technology as It Passes You By

A surprising amount of warehouses still manage cargo and inventory with pen-and-paper. If this sounds like you, you are making a common supply chain mistake characteristic of many growing, small and mid-sized warehouses.

Believing your warehouse or enterprise is too small for the latest warehouse technology is also a grave mistake. Resting on one’s laurels in the warehousing space hinders your ability to collect and analyze data and increases inefficiencies throughout operations. Failure to innovate means you can’t compete with those who are hitting efficiency gains and lowering costs to achieve the fastest cycle times.

How to Avoid:

Implementing these tools to your warehouse stack will achieve immediate ROI: wearable computers, business intelligence dashboards, diverters & conveyors, barcode scanners, and dimensioning systems quickly help you bring your warehouse into industry 4.0 - aka the digitized warehouse.

Costs associated with these tools quickly pay for themselves as manual labor costs decrease due to automation. New models of purchasing like leasing or subscribing to warehouse technology allow your enterprise to adopt new technology at a more rapid pace with operational expensing rather than capital investments.

Keep in mind, you don’t need to turn your warehouse into a scene out of iRobot to rapidly improve your efficiencies, but you, your company, and your team deserve the latest technology to operate effectively. Get started today by reaching out to our team! 

#3. Inadequate Health and Safety Management

Fast-moving vehicles, robots, automated systems, and human workers operating in a contained environment mean safety incidents are inevitable. Some warehouses display a facade of tidiness yet overlook important safety practices. Spotting hidden and obvious hazards to employees is a critical skill for management teams. Many warehouse managers only go as far as posting an incident on a overlooked cork-boards to meet OSHA standards. Teams rarely stop by to analyze or learn from incidents in these traditional information sharing means. Thus forklift accident, workplace distractions, Repetitive Strain Industry due to handheld tools, and improper training are some of the leading causes of costly workplace incidents, and can be reduced with a more proactive approach.

How to Avoid: 

Reduce incidents by informing your team and report accidents and near misses, analyze the root of the problems, and acting to eliminate them. It is not enough to send a company wide newsletter about a warehouse incident, or pin a report to a cork-board. Rufus Labs offers an incident management feed standard on every Rufus Cuff wearable computer to allow swift incident reporting, analysis, and dissemination throughout your workforce. An informed workforce is a safe workforce.

In Summary

We believe accuracy, productivity, and safety are the 3 critical components of a successful warehouse, and managers who lack foundational technology to support these areas will find themselves repeating the same mistakes in these vital areas! Contact us today to learn more about reducing operational missteps and how to get back on the track to success.