Better Warehouse Management Through Science

Every warehouse management professional wants their warehouse to be more productive and efficient, but how can you squeeze more out of an already finely-tuned machine? While training your employees, implementing an effective ERP system, and making sure your operations are data-driven can all help, to get ahead of the competition you need to constantly come up with new and innovative warehouse management strategies. When it feels like your bag of tricks is empty, it’s time to turn to the scientific method.

The Scientific Method

As we all learned in middle school, the scientific method is a four-step process that can be applied to any situation, especially your warehouse. You begin by observing what’s already happening in the warehouse — particularly any trouble spots or bottlenecks. You then come up with a hypothesis that explains why those things are happening. Using that hypothesis, you can predict how changes to your process might affect your productivity.

Experimenting In Your Warehouse

Once you have a hypothesis in mind, it’s time to experiment. As eager as you might be to give your theory a shot, it would be a disaster to stop your warehouse operations entirely to test your hypothesis. The easiest way to test different processes is to set up one or more “warehouses within a warehouse”. By setting aside small sections of your warehouse to run experiments, you can gain valuable insights without affecting your productivity.

As an example, say you observe that a certain item takes longer to pick, pack, and ship than other similar items. One hypothesis that can account for the problem would be that the placement of the item in the warehouse is not optimal. To test this hypothesis, you could run the following experiment — set up half the stock of that item on a lower shelf in your warehouse within a warehouse, and leave the rest where it is. Using your warehouse management software, you can track the performance of each location and determine which delivers the best results.

Need Some Help?

Applying science to your warehouse might seem like a simple idea, but it’s the foundation of every innovation in warehouse management. The scientific method can help you come up with proactive solutions, no matter what you face.

If you’re having a tough time finding solutions to the problems you see in your warehouse, Apparel Business Systems can help. Our expert consultants can diagnose and fix the toughest supply chain and warehouse management problems. Contact us today for more information.