African American female warehouse worker working on inentory on a lap top computer in a large distribution warehouse of products stored in cardboard boxes and on large racks.

5 Top Warehouse Problems and How to Solve Them

October 21, 2020

What are the common warehouse problems?

  1. Unconfigured Layouts
  2. Inventory Inaccuracy
  3. Redundant Processes
  4. Time-Consuming Order Picking
  5. Broken Equipment


Knowing how to solve warehouse problems is important in logistics. In this industry, accurately getting the product to the final points of distribution — the end-user — is crucial.

Most of the factors that affect this outcome can be traced right back to the warehouse that’s more often than not, plagued with problems that minimize its efficiency. Although achieving 100% operational accuracy is the ideal, it’s a difficult feat to achieve. Despite this, there are things that you can do to improve your warehouse processes. Continue reading to learn more.


Unconfigured Layouts

Many problems in a warehouse can be attributed to its physical location. Particularly, unconfigured layouts can not only be confusing to the personnel but can also have a snowball effect on the accuracy of the order fulfillment process.

Before having your warehouse built, it’s important that you undertake the necessary planning when it comes to the different parts of your warehouse. List down all the key locations that you need. For example, you might need an area for assembly, storage, inventory, packing, shipping, picking, and more.

With that information, you now have to take note of these key steps:

  • Blueprint your warehouse scheme and make sure that it contains accurate dimensions. Include all necessary measurements and other features like buildouts, mezzanines, equipment, overhead doors, etc.
  • Based on the blueprint, you can now have an idea of where you’ll be placing your equipment and all the sub-workspaces inside the warehouses. List them all down.
  • Choose a storage, shelving, and picking option that you think will work best. Delineate all the key work areas in the warehouse and implement the plan once you finish the planning process.


Inventory Inaccuracy

Warehouse or storage and shelves with cardboard boxes. Industria

Another problem that you’ll commonly find in your warehouse has to do with the inventory. There are many cases of disgruntled customers who have had to forward their complaints simply because they did not get the right SKU shipped to them due to an inaccurate inventory

Low inventory accuracy can harm your business because you don’t have accurate information on the inventory count, SKU, available stocks/units, barcode assignment, and more. Your order pickers will have a difficult time fulfilling orders because they don’t have the correct information to do so.

To fix this problem, it’s highly advisable for your warehouse to implement an automated storage warehouse management solution. This system offers an accurate and comprehensive view of your inventory which can subsequently lower your expenses and improve the capacity of the pickers.


Redundant Processes

Similarly, redundancy in warehouse processes can greatly harm how well your inventory system works. As much as possible, you want to reduce inventory clutter that can increase your cost of operations.

There are many things that you can do to eliminate redundancies. One of them is by implementing a barcode system — which is also part of automation. A simple barcode label can contain information such as the order number, designated customer, address, type of SKU, and the like. Every time an item is scanned, the information it contains will immediately be put into the system and update the already-existing inventory.

You can also reduce redundancies by going back to basics, like practicing a simpler layout, replacing outdated picking processes, or simply training your employees.


Time-Consuming Order Picking

Workers In Distribution Warehouse

The order picking process begins when a warehouse picker receives an order request. They then begin scouring the inventory to locate the designated item or SKU that is contained in the list.

Sometimes, the picking process can be time-consuming and may even be the cause of picking inaccuracies and delivery delays. To lessen this, warehouses are advised to set up a storage location that can easily be accessed by the pickers — preferably one that is situated near the picking area.

Another efficient method to speed up the picking process is by using utility carts or tugger carts. This is so that the picker doesn’t have to spend a long time just simply walking to and from the warehouse storage site.


Broken Equipment

Warehouses make use of different types of equipment, like forklifts, dock boards, pallet jacks, conveyors, assembly lines, service carts, packing equipment, and the like. Although these materials may be commonplace and widely-used, if one or two of them are non-functional, the entire warehouse operation can already suffer.

To prevent this from happening, the designated personnel should always see to it that every equipment is inspected before use. This helps minimize accidents and errors during the entire process.

For heavy equipment such as forklifts, the operators should ensure that the machines are cleaned and well-maintained. They should also be stored in a safe location in the warehouse where they don’t be damaged by external factors.


Key Takeaway

If you don’t know how to solve warehouse problems then you don’t need to worry because there are a few key areas of the warehouse that you can focus on, such as the layout, inventory, picking process, and the equipment.

You should understand that even if just a single operation isn’t working up to par, the rest of the warehouse activities will follow. If there is an inaccuracy in the inventory, an order request cannot be processed. The picker can’t do their job, which will lead to delivery delays.

To minimize the frequency of these errors, look into every aspect. If you find that one is underperforming, then you can begin making improvements from thereon.

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