Work smarter, not harder.

As individuals, and members of teams, we are always in the pursuit of continuous improvement and simplification of the “process”, especially if that means savings in both time and money.

Efficiency and sustainability often go hand-in-hand when it comes to managing warehouse operations and operating costs, and working within warehouses of the future. Whether it’s labor, utilities, equipment or other factors pushing at the seams of your bills and budget, you’re likely to find relief in three key areas: technology, standardization, and sustainable facilities management. Below, we’ll discuss practical ways you can reduce warehouse operating costs right now.

Leveraging Warehouse Technology

A successful warehousing operation relies upon a successful warehouse management system (WMS) and its integration with other aspects of the business. Some of those aspects are things such as labor, supplier, and vendor management systems – among other things.

If you’re working with antiquated and siloed technology, you could be costing your operation significant time and money. Similarly, using an electronic data interface (EDI) to communicate with your customers, vendors, and suppliers is critical to operational efficiency.

But even something as back-of-mind as your dumpster pickup and waste removal services could be streamlined and made more efficient with the use of technology. In fact, some warehousing operations have saved more than $100,000 per year in their waste management alone by tapping into providers that utilize the latest technology to manage their waste removal, rather than relying on old, outdated systems. New technology provides a new avenue for business owners and operators to not only explore but thrive. Your best bet is to educate yourself on the latest offerings and opportunities, evolving as it makes sense for your business.

Standardizing Operations

Standardizing your operations cuts down on wasted time and resources, (i.e. your equipment, your staff). Begin by standardizing your equipment, batteries, preventative maintenance systems, and service vendors. Homogenize training for new employees. Standardize and optimize pallet placement, racks and storage to increase utilized square footage and reduce wasted space.

The more standardized systems and protocols you can put in place, the more structure and efficiency will occur in your day-to-day operations. For example, employees and management can solve problems, such as finding replacement parts faster and easier with standardized systems.

Time is money in the warehousing business. Save yourself both by adopting warehouse-wide standardizations.

Improving Facilities Management

Utilities can drive up costs rather quickly in a warehouse environment. Focus on facilities management improvements and you’ll cut both costs and environmental impact. For example, switching to high-efficiency LED lighting and installing some high-efficiency fans could trim cooling costs.

Some facilities opt to buy energy in bulk, while others invest in clean energy such as solar panels or wind. Consider having a waste audit conducted to assess your waste streams. It’s likely you could be diverting more material from landfills. Many facilities managers don’t realize that waste removal is charged by the frequency of pickup and by tonnage, so the more you can divert, the less you pay. Implementing an OCC recycling/rebate program could not only save you money but turn a profit.

While warehousing is by no means a new business and many of the oldest tricks of the trade still work wonders today, there’s a whole host of new technologies, equipment, supplies, and offerings out there that could make your day run smoother – and balance the books at the same time.