Operating a warehouse, whether it be for manufacturing, fulfilment or other functions, is more difficult than it looks. It requires a lot of attention to detail and careful monitoring of what is going on.
A warehouse needs to be thoroughly organised if it is to run smoothly. Without a proper system that allows items to be stored and retrieved easily, bearing in mind the items with the highest turnover (put them at the front), so much time will be wasted. Grouping similar items is a good move. For more tips on organisation, see this report from The Guardian.
When items arrive in receiving they should be processed immediately, with an inspection, noting of any damage and stored in the correct place. It is easy to lose track of goods that make it to receiving and are overlooked.
Picking to make up orders can take a lot of time. However, if orders follow a pattern, then group your goods so pickers have the highest-volume goods within easy reach.
Be open to the idea that systems which were great a year ago may not be serving you well now. Orders and the demand for goods change, so make sure your warehouse layout stays up to date with what pickers need more often and the general flow of items.
Goods must be checked and verified when they arrive, and if there are problems they should be sent back straight away. Packers do not have time to check goods closely. A large number of problem or damaged goods will just get in the way, look messy, and probably cause delays and shortages down the line. Goods can be delivered in many forms, and if you need to handle a large number of sacks, a sack discharging process can be helpful. If you are thinking of finding out more about sack tip equipment it would be a good idea to contact experts in this area such as http://www.aptech.uk.com/materials-handling/container-fibc-sack-discharging-ancillary-processes/. A reputable company should be able to give you plenty of tips, advice and options, along with plenty of information on sack tip equipment.
Running a warehouse takes thought and planning. However, set your warehouse up properly, and you should see the payoff in efficient processes, excellent tracking of goods, and a streamlined flow of materials.