4 ways to increase warehouse automation for peak season

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Warehouse automation can save your business this peak season.

We all know peak season is around the corner, or perhaps for you, it has started. You want to ensure you have your warehouse automation ready so you can be productive, and retain a portion of your sanity during the crazy days of peak season. 

Using technology should serve your company in a manner that will make tasks easier. For that to happen, you have to make sure you’re using your technology systems correctly. Accompany that with workflows to maximize efficiency in your business. 

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are my pain points? 
  • What am I still doing manually that could be automated?
  • Is my warehouse ready for peak season?
  • Have I created a system to allow employees to succeed, and my customers to be happy? 
  • What can my systems do that I’m not aware of? 

Evaluate your inventory processes now, including receiving, picking, and product location. Schedule calls with your technology partners to review your processes and ensure you’re using these programs to the best of their ability for your company. 

Here are my top 4 ways to increase warehouse automation for peak season. 

Route your workers for better warehouse automation

Your warehouse staff is about to be very busy. Make their lives easier by checking that products are well organized and your picking process is planned to optimize time and accuracy. Save them steps!

Create hot zones in your warehouse for best-seller items. Place them in a location easiest to pick and close to your shipping stations. Position items that move the fastest in more than one zone when you have multiple shipping stations. This helps prevent a backup from multiple pickers pulling the same item.

Route your pickers using a dedicated path that does not backtrack to the same area multiple times. This increases productivity and saves the warehouse worker’s feet and back. Program your system to set your picklist with the filters you need, and use a hybrid model where it makes sense. 

Group all hot sellers to one picklist, then separate picklists for different areas. Additionally, group lower-ranked items that take longer to pick. This separation process allows you to optimize the work of the pickers by sending each one to different areas of the warehouse. 

Keep inventory tracking simple by using barcode scanning

Locations in your warehouse allow you to know where every item is at all times. Employees don’t have to worry about a shipping delay due to a missing product with warehouse automation. Just ‘knowing’ where products are will fail you at some point, so don’t get into that situation. 

If you’re not using a warehouse automation system to track your inventory in locations start now. Better yet, use a system that has barcode scanning.

Barcode scanning is a system that can track the movement of each item as workers scan it in and out of locations in the warehouse with just a click of a hand-held scanner. Automation provides historical data on inventory movement and eliminates manual entries that could lead to human error on a spreadsheet. 

These tools can also give visibility into your workers’ productivity and the location of your inventory. In SkuVault WMS users can print shelf tags and product barcodes to  make inventory tracking before peak season a breeze. 

Ensure your customer gets the correct item every time

Does your current process include quality control (QC)? 

During the holidays there is nothing that irritates a customer more than getting the wrong item. Gift givers are often overly stressed and do not understand (or have time for) human error. Using warehouse automation to help eliminate human error keeps your seller ratings high, your customers happy, and the money flowing in.

By using the barcode scanning method you can have a great QC process. Print your picklist and scan the locations and items on the picklist. The system lets you know if you pick the wrong item, or if you don’t pick enough items for an order. 

Setting up workflows allows users to utilize the correct scanning method for your warehouse. And when you use a system like SkuVault, you’re alloted several different picks and QC setting configurations to make peak season picking even smoother. 

Plan a receiving process to keep items listed quickly

During the holiday season, you want to ensure your products are getting in front of buyers as fast as possible. That means inventory should be added to listings immediately upon receiving.

With automation, users can make sure Purchase Orders are created (or at least uploaded/stored) in your WMS so you can receive against it. By using an automated system your product becomes available for sale upon receiving you don’t have to worry about getting your products out to the marketplaces, or your website, manually. 

With a few scans your products are out there for buyers to find. If your products need to be written up as a new listing at receiving you can receive to a staging area so your listers always have the new products in hand the moment they come into stock. 

Finally, be sure to check out all that SkuVault has to offer before and during this peak season. Our team is here to answer your questions and help you understand how our software can make your life a little easier. We wish you all a successful and stress-free peak selling season!