Will Automation Help Warehouses Combat Shortages?

Warehouses must address the problem of improving efficiency despite the pressure of staff shortages impacting the entire supply chain. Food supply chain experts are warning that supermarkets are facing imminent difficulties keeping their shelves stocked.

There are chronic staffing shortages in some sectors, including freight, packaging and manufacturing.

Other sectors, including warehousing, won’t escape unscathed, since the weak links in one area of the supply chain will increase pressure on others.

There is, however, one potential upside to this. It may accelerate automation in key areas of warehousing and logistics to help drive efficiencies.

The New Warehouse Dynamic

During the pandemic, warehouses have had to adapt rapidly to a new dynamic pulling them in different directions at once:

  • Increasing workloads and a need for more storage space to meet a huge increase in online shopping orders
  • Maintaining or introducing safe working practices, including social distancing within warehouse spaces.

You can now add in a third factor – the shortage of staff in key areas of logistics, putting additional demands on warehouse storage capabilities.

Warehouses need to find ways of boosting productivity, without putting the health of staff at risk. Certain risks will remain, even as the vaccination programme rolls out, and health and safety concerns will always be at the heart of warehousing operations.

As an answer to improving efficiency and productivity, automation isn’t just about improving output. It can also address essential tasks that support productivity or, in certain scenarios, slow it down.

One of these tasks is how best to conduct a warehouse audit.

The Impact of Warehouse Auditing

Warehouse audit procedures aren’t simply an optional extra when it comes to how you improve warehouse operations.

Warehouse auditing is about setting then meeting key benchmarks. These benchmarks are subject to change in normal circumstances, but during the pandemic, they have been subject to accelerated shifts in patterns of demand and supply.

Consequently, warehouses need to move from being dynamically responsive to highly proactive in the part they play in the supply chain.

Auditing should support this adaptability, but only if it’s efficient, accurate and effective as a process.

How to Improve Warehouse Productivity

Basically, if you want to improve warehouse productivity in the face of supply chain demands and pressures, you must first optimise your auditing.

Effective warehouse auditing should help you:

  • Identify areas for improvement
  • Minimise health and safety risks
  • Ensure consistent performance
  • Streamline operations.

This won’t be the case, however, if you’re auditing procedures are cumbersome and result in slowing down or hampering productivity. If this happens, then auditing becomes counter-productive.

We’ve designed the Warehouse Auditor app to help you optimise auditing processes to enhance safety and improve processes in your warehouse. We believe in the benefits so strongly that we’re offering you a FREE 30-day trial.