As online shopping grows, there is a greater need for E-commerce warehouses, but the process isn’t simple. E-commerce warehouses must be flexible to meet the demands of the consumers and ensure consistent order fulfilment. The UK has the most advanced E-commerce market in Europe. But E-commerce warehouses still leave a lot to be desired. Fortunately, setting it up isn’t rocket science. Here’s how you can do it.
1. Determine The Space
Setting up a warehouse starts with one simple question: “how much space do I need?” A good starting point is calculating all pallets and cartons you plan to carry and multiplying it by the footprint of the average pallet or carton. The storage space is calculated in cubic feet so the business can use the storage and shelving system and utilise the whole space. You will need to have space for multiple stages:
- Receiving and labelling areas
- Storage for order fulfilment
- Forward staging
- Pallet breakdown area
2. Determine The Equipment
Depending on products, volume, and business model, you’ll need warehouse equipment. An e-commerce warehouse has basic goals: to maximise space and increase efficiency. There are four basic types of warehouse equipment required for these goals:
- Storage equipment includes everything from warehouse shelves the small bins.
- Material handling equipmentincludes transport equipment, loading equipment, storage equipment, etc. It’s a broad category.
- Packing and shipping equipmentincludes all equipment needed for assembling, packaging, and labelling.
- Inventory management software –In modern warehouses, inventory management software gets its own category.
3. Automate Repetitive Processes
There are several repetitive processes in a warehouse, and automating them is a sure way to improve efficiency. Automation also doesn’t have to be huge. It can be small investments to single-task machines:
- Barcode scanners will help cycle counts.
- A conveyor belt will move all the load from one area to another efficiently and without straining the employees.
- A weight scanner to automatically measure the weight of the shipments.
4. Optimise Pick Paths
Optimising the pick paths improves efficiency in a warehouse but do you do it manually software, there are some rules of thumb that you should know:
- There are different order-picking methods; you should pick one based on your facility.
- Keep your picking order linear, with employees completing the picking run at locations close to the final shipping area.
- Items purchased together should be stored nearby each other.
- If employees must backtrack and cross each other, there must be something wrong and the pick path.
5. Have Warehouse Guidelines
If you don’t already have warehouse policies and guidelines, you must make them first. Optimising pick paths is just the beginning. It would help if you considered everything from the safety procedures in the warehouse to workflow and order accuracy. You can use OSHA’s pocket guide for worker safety in warehouses. However, don’t just put policies in place. When you create them, advertise them, so the employees know to use the correct safety equipment and follow safety protocols.
6. Train The Staff
The next logical step is training the staff to work with the equipment and use the right procedures. It’s not just about providing them with knowledge but teaching them how to use it to work quickly and professionally. Spending resources on staff training will pay for itself in fewer mistakes and a safer work environment.
7. Get A Warehouse Management Software
It’s one thing for a warehouse that’s been around for decades to cling to the old way of doing things, but when it comes to setting up a new one, there’s no excuse not to get warehouse management software. It provides pick-and-pack solutions, inventory management, employee record management, etc., all in one place.
3PLWOW helps businesses grow, whether start-ups or ongoing businesses, with our specialised pick-and-pack expert services. We also offer order fulfilment in London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and more. Contact us for more information on how we can help!