Archive for November, 2016

November 30, 2016

Getting Better at Forecasting for Your Warehouse

Our warehouse consultants can help your warehouse get better at forecasting. Forecasting in your warehouse is the process of predicting inventory levels. It’s an invaluable tool to help you manage your inventory levels in a smarter, more proactive way. A few decades ago, the most accurate forecasting was primarily done through gut instinct and maybe some sales records from the previous years. Today’s forecasting has become a much more sophisticated process, and it’s one that can save your warehouse a ton of money while also boosting your bottom line and customer service.

Saving You Money

Forecasting helps you know the inventory trends that are happening in your warehouse. With an accurate forecast, you should know how much you need to have available of certain products and when. This eliminates too much wasteful inventory sitting on the shelves as well as helps you fulfill more customer order and avoid “out of stock” sale losses. Too much inventory sitting around is a waste of your company’s money.

Providing Better Customer Service

Customers want to be able to order what they want when they want it. If your warehouse is out of stock due to poor forecasting, it can result not only in the loss of that customer’s business on that particular order but the loss of their business forever. If they can find it at another store, they are much more likely to order from that store again. Inventory that you don’t have is costing your company money, too.

How to Be Better at Demand Forecasting

  1. Pick the right forecasting method. There are a variety of methods out there, but the key is to pick the one that’s right for your particular business. That might be Simple Moving Average or Exponential Moving Average. Our warehouse consultants can help you determine which one is right for your warehouse.
  2. Make sure you know when there is an exception to a rule. Forecasting is great, but you’ll still need to use some good old-fashioned common sense to really make it work. If there was a spike in demand suddenly, was a large one-time order? Or is it the sign of a growing trend that you need to keep up with? Look for exceptions to avoid costly mistakes.
  3. Automate your forecasting. This is an area where the power of computers can be your best friend. There are a variety of forecasting software packages available, and you may already have one built into your warehouse management software. Know how to use it and how to read the forecasting suggestions to make better inventory decisions for your warehouse.

Ready to improve your warehouse’s forecasting abilities? It only takes one phone call. Get in touch with the DAK Equipment & Engineering team and we’ll help you improve your inventory management so you can cut costs and increase your customer satisfaction along with your bottom line. Our warehouse consultants understand the demands of your warehouse and how to help you meet them. Give us a call or contact us through our website today.

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November 26, 2016

How the Right Warehouse Equipment Is Better For Customer Service

Having the right warehouse equipment in your facility isn’t just about making your job easier (although it does!). It’s also about providing a high level of customer service. Today’s marketplace is dominated by those who can provide the best customer service, and that goes beyond things like a friendly voice on the telephone.

The Customer Service Your Warehouse Can Provide

  • Accurate inventory levels for your warehouse. When they shop online, they want to be assured that what’s on the website is what is available in the warehouse. It reflects poorly on your company when a customer places an order which has to later be canceled due to an inventory mistake. You’re likely to lose their business.
  • Speedy processing of their order. It’s frustrating to place an order and then watch as nothing happens with it for days on end. Customers want to see action and know that their order is being processed as quickly as possible.
  • Speedy shipping to their door. While to some extent you don’t have control over how fast your shipping partners move, you do control how quickly that order gets out the door.
  • Receiving the correct items in their order. Customers don’t want to open up a box and find the wrong items inside. Accurate picking is vital to making the best impression on customers.
  • Quick processing of their returns. If an item does have to be returned, customers want to get their refund or exchange as quickly as possible. While returns are never a positive experience, processing them quickly can make a great impression on a customer and bring them back for repeat business.

The Role of Warehouse Equipment in Customer Service

  • Accurate inventory numbers start with pallet shelves and carton racks that are organized and warehouse systems that have accurate inventory levels.
  • Speedy processing happens when pickers are able to move through the warehouse quickly and have the tools and equipment they need to process orders faster.
  • Speedy shipping happens when orders are processed and moved out the door and onto a truck as quickly as possible.
  • Getting the correct items happens when warehouse shelves are clearly labeled and organized for quick identification.
  • Quick returns processing happens when you have the right area to get those returns processed and the shelving needed to keep it all organized.

So where does your warehouse rank in terms of providing top-level customer service? Take a look at your numbers for last year. How long did it take to process an order on average? How long did it take you to process a return? What was your order fulfillment error rate? If you see areas that could be improved, it might not just be an employee training issue; it could be an issue with the warehouse equipment you are using.

Our warehouse equipment experts can help. Get in touch with our team today and we’ll help you identify the areas of your warehouse that could be improved and give you a step-by-step plan to make them better. You can reach us over the phone or through our website today.

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November 22, 2016

How to Improve Your Pick Times in 2017

One of the on-going struggles for many warehouses is improving how quickly they can pick and process an order to get it out the door. If improving your pick time is a goal for your warehouse in 2017, there are a number of things you can do in order to set yourself up for success.

Try These Tips to Improve Pick Times

Optimize your pick module.

Your pick module is made up of the pallet shelving, cartons, and bins used to store the items that will be picked to fulfill the orders. If your pick module is disorganized or makes it hard to the items that are needed, it’s going to vastly slow down your pick times. It’s going to increase your error rates, as well. A well-organized pick module can improve order processing and help make your team as efficient as possible.

Make sure you are using the right picking method.

There are numerous picking methods, including single order, multi-order, batch picking and more. There is no right or wrong method, there is only the method that works best for your warehouse. That might change over time, too, so if you notice that your pick times are creeping upwards it might be time to reassess how you are picking orders.

Cut down on picking options.

The more options you give to your pickers, the more time you are going to waste. This includes things like box sizes and packing materials. When pickers have to stop to decide which box size to use amongst more than three, you are just wasting time. Making them choose the right packing material is a time-waster, too. Stick with one high-quality packing material and get those boxes packed faster.

Automate where you can.

There are a lot of parts of the picking process that don’t require a lot of high-level thinking. These are the areas that you should automate as much as possible. This includes moving your boxes from the picking to the packing area. Installing warehouse equipment such as a conveyor belt system can free workers up to move onto the next order while their last one moves down the line.

Reduce your changeover time.

Some of the biggest time wasters in the picking process is the time that it takes for an employee to move from one order to the next. Find ways to reduce that time. That might include picking multiple orders at once or skipping the picking carton and picking directly into the shipping box. It might involve picking one order on the way through the warehouse and one on the way back to the shipping area. Whatever it is, this is a great place to look for wasted time.

Whatever needs to happen to speed up your pick times, DAK Equipment & Engineering can help. We have the warehouse equipment that can make your pick lines more efficient and the consultants who can make you are optimizing what you currently have on hand. Get in touch with our team today and let us know that you need to find ways to improve your pick times in 2017. We’ll get to work helping you find the solutions that you need!

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