In an efficient warehouse, operations are not dependent on certain individuals; instead, all employees are capable of executing multiple different work operations. Job rotation diversifies tasks and increases job satisfaction. Learning new tasks is easy and quick, making the use of temporary employees a viable and cost-effective option upon need. In an efficient warehouse, the operations are planned keeping in mind the big picture and the controlling of processes, which is also why the warehouse operations can quickly adapt to changes in volume.

Due to changes in the operating environment, the fluctuation of stock volumes is constantly increasing and the item base changing ever more quickly. In particular, these rapid fluctuations affect the use of space in the warehouse. If materials have been allocated to certain fixed stock locations in advance, the use of space can easily become uneven and inefficient. This problem can be solved by dynamic warehouse management. In dynamic warehouse management, stock locations will only be determined once the materials are received on the basis of, for example, the ABC rotation class, physical characteristics of the materials and the currently available stock locations. This way, the warehouse space can be utilized as efficiently as possible while also ensuring the correct rotation of stock.

When the requirements set by the business environment for warehouse operations are known, it is possible to plan the optimization of warehouse operations. Optimization means identifying the central variables in warehouse operations and including them in the rules of an intelligent Warehouse Management System (WMS). With the help of these variables, the WMS will efficiently control the entire supply chain by flexibly reacting to changes occurring in the operating environment, both in the short and long term.

Development took precedence over the use of paper

The use of pick lists and inventory counts on paper are two common, major causes of inefficiency in warehouses. When using paper lists, unnecessary costs are incurred by printing, errors, separate picking confirmations, and the creation of possible separate pallet documents – not to mention the cost of paper itself. In principle, separate inventory counting is also a cost, as it is done to correct mistakes caused by weak processes.

kuva Artosta

Arto Pellonpää, Roima Intelligence, Intralogistics Unit

In the next thesis, I will ask: Are simple shortcut tricks enough?