Among the largest costs for small businesses that sell and ship physical products to their customers is warehousing. It’s expensive to safely store all those individual items, and pulling them from the shelves when they’re ordered isn’t always as simple as it seems.
If you are like many business owners, you’re always looking for ways to decrease your operating costs and increase overall efficiency to maximize every dollar you have. Looking to your warehouse can help you make some major financial savings without pinching too many pennies.
Here are 4 ways you can cut costs in your warehouse while boosting efficiency:
Optimize Storage Space
It’s no secret that a large part of the expense of warehousing your products is the amount of land it takes.
If you’ve got your items in a 50,000 square foot, you’re paying for every inch of that building and land as well as all the other associated warehousing costs.
By optimizing your storage space, you can either shrink your warehousing needs or make expanding your inventory a less frightening prospect thanks to the extra space you’ve created in your existing warehouse.
For instance, aisles are necessary for the safe movement of people and machinery, as well as the quick picking and stocking of items. Determine exactly how wide of a space each of your products needs to move, and whether they require special equipment, such as a forklift, to get from one place to another.
By grouping products together based on aisle width, you’ll be able to maximize the floor space necessary. Rather than having products with small width needs racked with those with wider aisle needs, meaning you need several large aisles, grouping all the small-width products together allows you to shrink the width of the row and create more space on your warehouse floor.
Protect Your Inventory
Another major cost for many businesses is inventory loss. Whether it’s from damage, theft, or just getting misplaced in the warehouse, maintaining careful control over your inventory is key to not losing money before you ever make it.
To protect your products while they’re warehoused and awaiting shipment to customers, there are a few things you can consider:
- Package for protection: Drops, dings, and scratches can – and do – happen in warehouses, even with the most careful crew. If you’ve got fragile products, or plan to ship heavy items along with smaller items, add additional protection to your products before they ever make it to the warehouse. Bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and strong boxes are a must to prevent damage during storage.
- Lock doors: Warehouses are high targets for theft, both from inside and outside because of the high dollar value of the products they store. To prevent easy access to the products stored in your warehouse, keep all entry points locked and guarded, and add extra access control measures such as key cards so you know who’s coming and going.
- Add security: Deterring theft with security measures is one of the most powerful ways to prevent this type of loss in your warehouse. If you can swing the staffing costs, consider having a posted guard during business hours to keep an eye on things. Otherwise, install a security system with designated access points and security cameras so you can see what’s going on inside the warehouse at all times.
Decrease Energy Costs
Warehouses are also expensive to keep temperature-controlled and lit, especially during the darker months of the year. By implementing some energy-saving measures, you can dramatically reduce the cost of your warehouse while still maintaining quality of service.
If you store your items in an older warehouse with outdated lighting fixtures, consider replacing at least some of those fixtures with more energy-efficient, modern fixtures. While this is an up-front cost, the savings over time are large enough that the initial expense pays for itself.
Making sure your employees are doing everything they can to decrease energy usage is also important.
Turning off lights and heating or cooling systems while your building is unoccupied can save you hundreds in energy costs. Also, tell all staff members to turn off machinery that’s not in use and, if feasible, unplug equipment that doesn’t need to be plugged in all the time.
Another thing to consider to help trim your heating and cooling bills is to be flexible with your operational hours.
In the summer, conducting the bulk of your business in the earlier, cooler hours of the day will help reduce the need for air conditioning, as will moving your business hours toward the middle of the day during the summer.
Use Equipment Wisely
Your warehouse simply can’t operate without using some sort of equipment. But you can trim the costs of using this equipment without compromising your service.
When possible, look for ways that you can use one piece of equipment for more than one job. By cutting down to just one piece of equipment, you’re cutting your costs of ownership, maintenance, and use, saving you money automatically.
Also, maintain your equipment as much as possible.
By putting in a little money every so often to give your forklifts a tune-up or clean and paint your machinery, you’re saving money and time in the long run. Equipment that isn’t properly maintained wears down over time, causing work stoppages, expensive repairs, and possibly even full replacement.
Quality Warehousing Service on the East Coast
Trim your warehousing costs even farther by entrusting the job to Cannon Hill Logistics. Only pay for the space you actually need, and pay nothing for shared space such as loading docks and warehouse travel aisles. Equipment costs are on us. We’ve got more than 30 years in the logistics and warehousing business, and we know how to store your merchandise efficiently to stretch your warehousing dollars.
Get individualized plans to suit your business needs at a price you can afford. Whether you need some overflow warehousing help or want someone to handle everything – soup to nuts – our experienced team can give you the service you deserve to help your business grow.