When leaving the first month of the year, it can be tempting to leave behind the good intentions we set for ourselves at the beginning of January. Upholding those resolutions, however, is key to the consistent execution of business management. This month, the Supply Chain Network team reveal their five top ways to ensure warehouse managers can continue to maintain their operational efficiency and best practice processes within their facilities, in the first quarter of 2022.
1. Assess Processes based on Products and Facility Functions
The traditional routes to retail have changed beyond recognition in a very short space of time. These have been shaped predominantly by Brexit, and the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the onslaught of reliance on contactless, eCommerce, and Omni-channel fulfilment strategies. With the introduction of the Metaverse at the beginning of 2022, these will undoubtedly continue to expand exponentially and to alleviate any pressure these changes cause, businesses, if they have not done so already will need to prepare and adapt their business models to accommodate this digital shift.
Inside your warehouse, as your business has duly responded to these unavoidable changes, your processes may have changed, as may have your product type, levels of inventory, and frequency of order processing. Your facility may now conduct multiple operations, compared to pre-pandemic times, or it may have adopted a wholly digital approach to operational efficiency within the last two years or more. As a warehouse manager, accepting all these changes is only the first step. Now is the perfect time to conduct a thorough assessment of your facility to critically evaluate all changes. It is also time to introduce new processes where practical to ensure both future business success and facility suitability.
2. Manage Costs Accordingly
Cost efficiency is a priority for the continuous running of all successful businesses. While 2022 appears somewhat more stable compared to the economic and environmental climate of recent years past, many businesses are still acclimatising to the changes triggered by the pandemic at the beginning of 2020. Over these years within your facility, things like your levels of and type of inventory may have changed. Your relationship with your usual suppliers may have been disrupted and combined with new Brexit tariffs, may have resulted in increased costs.
You may even have had to stock up on inventory when available, due to materials shortages and logistics network collapse. Bonded warehouses, although sometimes costly, may also have become a vital option for your company to invest in to remain operational during the turbulent past few years. As we appear to approach a bit of a situational plateau, there is no time better than now to revaluate your costs, your stock, and your financial and business plans for the year ahead.
3. Optimise Inventory, Technology, and Prioritise Customer Satisfaction
If your facility has been forced to change to adapt to the environmental and digital disruption, so too have your customers’ expectations and their routes to retail. This in turn affects your facility and can change its purpose, the way it operates, and the types and amount of product you process, store, and distribute through it. Now is the perfect time to assess your facility and develop a comprehensive understanding of all your operational processes and where necessary implement new methods and a warehouse management system (WMS) to fulfil new customer demand and create integrated facility efficiency.
This might look like optimising your inventory and introducing omnichannel fulfilment methods by aligning your processes with automated conveyors. It may even take the shape of automating previously manual tasks like 'pick and pack' with cobots or robots. Through streamlining inventory and adopting new software and processes, you can effectively optimise your processes and synchronise your entire supply chain operation for 2022, and the following years ahead.
Emerging from Digital Disruption
Although the start of 2022 is the perfect time to reassess previous and traditional operational norms, the true key to success is a combination of both business resilience and willingness to adapt. The only constant that the industry has known for the past two years has been change and the introduction of what is new. As we do emerge out of the embers of this disruptive period, those who succeed in the industry will be those who continue to locate alternative suppliers, identify ways to diversify, and those who consistently invest in new trends and technologies to benefit their business.
Adapt your Warehouse and Distribution Fulfilment Networks with Supply Chain Network
Experts in all aspects of warehouse and network design, SCN understands the importance of remaining competitive in a dynamic industry and the critical data analysis required to achieve this. Specialists in Warehouse Design and Fit-Out, the SCN team can help you reach your facility’s fulfilment potential in 2021 and beyond. Visit www.scnuk.com to learn about the work that we do and to ensure you are ready and future-proof your business plans and warehouse design.
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