As a 3PL, warehouse manager, or COO managing the operations of your warehouse, it’s essential to understand how to audit warehouse technology and processes. Auditing effectively assesses areas that need improvement while enabling businesses to maximize inventory accuracy and improve efficiency.
By evaluating current warehouse practices, you can quickly identify internal process gaps and explore potential technological solutions that can enable optimization within all activities related to order fulfillment. So, what should be considered when auditing your warehouses? Let’s dive into the specifics so you can apply best practices for successful business operations!
What is a Warehouse Audit?
A warehouse audit comprehensively reviews your warehouse’s technology and processes. It systematically and objectively examines your warehouse’s operations to identify improvement areas and optimization opportunities. The audit helps you evaluate the effectiveness of your warehouse processes, technology efficiency, and inventory management accuracy.
How to Audit a Warehouse?
Auditing a warehouse requires a systematic and structured approach. The following steps can guide you through auditing your warehouse technologies and processes:
Develop a Warehouse Audit Checklist
Develop a comprehensive warehouse audit checklist that covers all aspects of your warehouse operations. Your audit checklist should include all relevant areas, such as receiving and put away, order picking, packing and shipping, inventory management, and technology systems. This checklist will serve as a roadmap for your audit, ensuring you cover all the necessary areas.
Evaluate the Warehouse Layout and Design
A warehouse’s layout and design can significantly impact how efficient your operations are, regardless of what type of warehouse you have. Consider factors such as aisle width, storage density, and the flow of goods through your warehouse to ensure it is optimized to meet your needs.
Review Receiving and Put Away Processes
Receiving and putaway are two essential functions that play a vital role in the daily operations of a warehouse and should be audited regularly to ensure that they are working correctly and efficiently. To achieve this, you should ensure that the receiving team thoroughly examines all incoming shipments and stores them in the correct location once they are inspected.
Analyze Order Picking Processes
Warehouse operations depend heavily on order picking, and inefficient processes can lead to errors and delays. You must analyze your order picking processes to ensure they are optimized for speed, accuracy, and proper procedures, as well as the right technology to help your employees complete their tasks as efficiently as possible.
Assess Packing and Shipping Processes
The packaging and shipping processes are essential components of warehouse operations that must be evaluated to ensure they are efficient and error-free. In addition, it is important to ensure that your packers use the correct packaging materials and follow the proper packing procedures throughout the process.
Review Inventory Management Processes
To ensure a successful warehouse operation, you will need to confirm that your inventory tracking systems are up-to-date and that your warehouse staff is properly managing stock levels in your warehouse.
Evaluate Warehouse Technology Systems
As modern warehouse operations have become more technical and complex, you will need to evaluate your technology systems to ensure they are working correctly and fully integrated with your warehouse processes. You will also want to ensure that your technology systems are up-to-date and optimized for the needs of your warehouse.
Warehouse Audit Procedures
If you are planning to conduct a warehouse audit, the procedures will differ depending on your specific needs and the complexity of the operations in your warehouse. However, following some general guidelines can provide you with some helpful guidance to ensure that your audit is thorough and effective:
- Define the Scope of Your Audit
The scope of your warehouse audit should be clearly defined, including the specific aspects of your operations that you plan to examine. This will allow you to concentrate your audit on the most critical areas and ensure all aspects of your warehouse operations have been covered.
- Assign Responsibilities
The first thing that needs to be done is to assign tasks to the individuals responsible for leading, performing, and implementing any changes that need to be made due to the audit.
- Conduct the Audit
During the audit, it is important to take detailed notes and document any areas of concern or opportunities for improvement so that you can refer back to them later. Ensure you follow your warehouse audit checklist to cover all relevant areas.
- Analyze the Results
Utilize your audit checklist and notes as a guide for analyzing your audit results. Be sure to include key stakeholders in the process to identify any areas of concern or opportunities for improvement.
- Develop an Action Plan
After you have analyzed the situation and identified the areas you are concerned about, it is time to develop an action plan to help you address them. Your action plan should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound to address these areas.
- Implement Changes
As part of your action plan, implement the changes identified and monitor their effectiveness. Make sure to communicate any changes to your team, as well as to provide training if necessary.
Position Your Warehouse for Success
Taking the time to regularly audit your warehouse technologies and processes helps ensure that operations are running efficiently and that tasks are being completed accurately. This careful review can also uncover areas for improvement and provide the opportunity to troubleshoot any issues.
To implement a successful audit, define the scope of the audit, assign responsibilities, conduct the audit and analyze the results. Create an action plan, including implementing any necessary changes, for process improvement.
A warehouse management system is extremely beneficial in this process as it streamlines tasks and reduces errors. Give ShipHero a try today and get ultimate control over your inventory with improved visibility into daily activities – perfect for performing an absolutely successful audit!
About ShipHero: We make it simple for you to deliver your eCommerce. Our software helps you run your warehouse, and our outsourced shipping solutions eliminate the hassle of getting your products to your customers. With thousands of brands and 3PLs relying on us daily, we’re here to help with all your logistics needs.