Managing a warehouse is no easy feat. Those at the helm of the warehouse have a wide range of responsibilities on their shoulders. They are in charge of overseeing workers and ensuring they are productive and safe. They have to manage inventory, logistics, and the receiving and transferring of shipments. It is essential for them to stay on top of the process, while keeping the warehouse in running order, meeting the budget, and managing demands. Planning for storage and inventory control is necessary, and they have to always be on top of the game to manage expenses and find ways to lower them, without impacting customer satisfaction negatively. Suffice it to say, it’s a lot to balance!
Here are the top challenges facing warehouse operations managers to keep in mind when planning and executing a strategy.
1: Staying Within a Strict Budget
The budget is always a major focus for every department of every business, and it is always a challenge to adhere to it. In many cases, businesses want to eliminate expenses at every turn, but this can make things really difficult for warehouse managers. Often, they have to maintain various functions within the warehouse, and it can cause a great deal of stress when the budget is impacted. In this regard, optimization and warehouse automation are becoming ever more important for the warehouse industry.
2: Ensuring Warehouse Workers Are Safe
This is a monetary, a liability, and a compassionate concern. Above all, safe and comfortable workers are productive workers, and this helps ensure the business is profiting and benefiting from a strong, healthy workforce. If workers are exposed to excessive heat, dangerous conditions, faulty equipment, etc, they are at risk for on-the-job injuries, which can lead to higher numbers of insurance claims, potential lawsuits, and the loss of precious manpower due to injury or death. Having the right processes in place, along with the right protective equipment can ensure the workplace is safe and productive.
3: Preparing for Growth, Product Availability, and Keeping Up With Orders
Warehouse managers have to not only manage everything at hand in the present moment, but they also have to plan for the anticipated future, ensure product availability meets demand, and orders are managed efficiently. In e-commerce, the industry is often run by supply availability, not demand.
4: Hiring the Right Talent
In the warehousing, manufacturing, and shipping industries, there is a lack of available talent to meet the needs of many companies. Managers are often left to manage operations, with a shortened staff and figure out how to keep the system running. Additionally, finding, training, and retaining employees is another challenge in this sector, and it can eat into the cost of labor if the turnover rate is high. Warehouse managers must figure out how to balance the needs of the warehouse and ensure employees are well-trained, happy, and they enjoy a comfortable work-life balance to keep their staff as long as possible.
5: Managing the Demands of Multiple Delivery Channels
Omnichannel commerce is one of the ways retail companies have been able to power up their selling, making their products widely available to customers. However, managing the massive amount of data necessary, along with tracking shipments through the supply chain, and making sure the process runs smoothly are responsibilities of the warehouse manager. Errors and issues in these functions can cause delays and unhappy customers, which is never good for businesses. To manage these tasks, having a dynamic warehouse management system is essential.
6. Time Management
In a world on-demand, time is everything, and warehouse managers have to handle it exquisitely. It is the single most important factor because it equates to monetary value, and it is not tangible. Therefore, it is extremely important to optimize strategic measures to manage inventory, shipping, and overall the whole supply chain. Automation tools such as order management systems (OMS) are very helpful in this regard, and they can help reduce repetition and excess time wasted.
7. Handling Seasonal Changes
In e-commerce, products change with the seasons, especially in the fashion industry. Operations managers are often within strict boundaries to manage the influx and churning of products. Sales aren’t predictable and it’s a necessity of the job to handle the time and space needed to manage inventory. Warehouse managers are at the mercy of the e-commerce team; from the marketing heads to the buyers, to handle products coming and going, and to make sure there is enough space to manage everything.
Warehouse operations managers face a myriad of challenges, so it’s imperative to strategize ways to handle it all. Taking advantage of automation and optimization technology can be very useful, along with having a strong OMS system. While each company will have its own unique hurdles to plan for, every warehouse should be managed with strategic care to ensure the best performance from every angle.