Small But Significant: How Mini Supply Chain Improvements Make a Big Difference

Sometimes small changes made to how your business runs can have a big impact, so rather than reinvent the wheel when reviewing your supply chain process it can often pay to take a number of small but significant steps.

Here is a look at some of the ways you could make your supply chain stronger and bring about a number of positive improvements, including a suggested rethink on your transportation options, a suggestion to help reduce warehouse steps, plus a couple of simple but effective ways of speeding up the picking and despatch process.

Nailing down the best price on transport costs

It can be convenient to use one shipping option to deal with all your requirements but as there are always going to be price differentials between weight and zones you could be paying over the odds for some of your shipments.

If you can calculate the various breakpoints in terms of weight and destination zones you might be able to get a better deal with smaller parcel carriers who are more flexible on pricing and don’t charge by the pallet.

Out of the door by the quickest route

A process in your warehouse kicks into action with each item that is purchased and when they order them it is always the aim to pack and despatch in the shortest time and most efficient way possible.

Think about what happens with each order that is processed and whether you can cut out or improve certain steps to improve efficiency.

If you position inventory strategically to minimize processing time and have all the packaging materials close to each other in one shipping workstation this will help keep movement to a minimum and speed up the time between order and despatch.

Review your picking process

A simple but effective idea that could improve efficiency at a stroke would be to look at where it is feasible to pick and pack into a shipping box straight from the shelf.

The success of that strategy will largely depend on how standardized your parcel sizes are and if you stock a wide range of items that vary greatly in size and shape it could be a headache trying to coordinate the right labeled shipping box with each order.

However, if you are shipping out standard size boxes on a good number of your orders this strategy could be a real time-saver and it should deliver cost benefits with the efficiency savings.

Shipping label sense

Another small but effective change to your working practices in the warehouse would be to invest in some wireless mobile printers.

The advantage of giving these to warehouse staff is that you could program the system to print a shipping label at the same time as the item is scanned.

That would cut down on time and administration costs if the item is picked straight into the shipping box and the shipping label is printed at the same time.

These are just a few ideas to consider which are small changes to make but could deliver big savings and improved efficiency in the warehouse.