Dreamstime Images
Dreamstime L 109942471 63594e08b435c

Steer Clear of Warehouse Management Pitfalls

Oct. 27, 2022
Avoid these five underlying management mistakes to keep things running smoothly.

A well-run warehouse means smooth operations, which can have a significant impact on a business’ bottom line. Clean and well-maintained warehouses are faster at accepting the merchandise, fulfilling and shipping orders, and keeping customers satisfied.

However, getting a warehouse in order is easier said than done. The only way to ensure that warehousing works for your business is to keep your operational goals in mind and take every step necessary to maximize efficiency, minimize waste, cut costs and delight customers.

Taking the wrong decisions or actions can adversely affect warehouse operations and the team working on them. The best way to avoid making warehouse management mistakes is to assess your current processes. After that, you can take preventative measures.

If you are lucky enough to have dedicated warehousing workers, invest in optimizing their daily tasks. The job is labor intensive, and you don’t want to make it harder by not thinking about the details.

In this article, we’ll talk about some of the most frequent issues with warehouse management and how to avoid them.

Inefficient Order-Picking Paths

Inefficient order-picking paths can cause warehouse staff to spend too much time traveling on-site, which is a major issue. There will be longer turnaround times and higher-than-necessary labor expenditures to accomplish the same amount of work.

Ideally, your warehouse operators should be able to finish each picking run at a place in your warehouse that is relatively close to the area where shipments leave. Though it may be challenging at times, it is well worth the effort to map out the most efficient selecting routes possible.

Optimal picking paths can save money by planning the layout:

  • It makes sense to keep frequently purchased items together in a single area
  • Select which items go on which area before going on to the next step in the fulfillment process
  • The warehouse staff should follow a linear picking order, with each picking run ending close to the ultimate shipping area

Achieving optimal warehouse efficiency begins with settling on a reliable system for picking orders (batch picking, zone picking or wave picking).

Relying on Paper-Based Workflows

Many smaller businesses make the mistake of refusing to adopt technology and instead cling stubbornly to antiquated, paper-based operations. If your warehouse is making the same management blunders that plague many smaller and medium-sized storage facilities, it’s time to figure out why.

In addition to stifling productivity, a company’s inability to collect and analyze data, spot patterns, and adapt quickly to shifting markets and consumer preferences reduces its competitiveness.

You may significantly improve warehouse efficiency, productivity and automation with the most fundamental technology, including logistics staff scheduling software, wearable computers, warehouse management systems, diverters and conveyors, mobile printers and dimensioning systems.

The expenditures you incur due to a lack of technology and a reliance on manual labor will significantly outweigh the return on investment for this very simple equipment.

Keep in mind, you don't have to overhaul your warehouse overnight, but you do owe it to the business and your team to at least begin modernizing and automating its operations.

Managerial Failures in Health and Safety

Unfortunately, health and safety are often placed on the back burner during hectic warehouse operations. In 2021, about 6.8 out of every 100 Amazon warehouse employees experienced an injury. And the warehousing team has to bear the consequences.

Since warehouses are hazardous places to work, it is in everyone’s best interest to develop a culture of reporting incidents and near-misses, identifying their root causes and taking corrective measures to eliminate them.

Employees should know how to handle various situations at a warehouse, including warehouse spills. The best way to deal with potential danger is to routinely analyze it and take preventative and corrective action as needed. Warehouse employees should take great care to adhere to health and safety regulations to reduce the likelihood of accidents and the associated costs and legal action.

To ensure a safe working environment in the warehouse, consult the OSHA Warehouse Safety Pocket Guide. According to the CDC, up to 27% of annual workdays get lost due to slips, trips and falls.

Ineffective Inventory Management

Three major problems in warehouses are a lack of inventory, an overabundance of stock and out-of-date goods. Some warehouses may overstock in anticipation of demand increases, while others adhere strictly to JIT (just-in-time) replenishment practices. Either practice can lead to higher operational costs and dissatisfied customers if you don’t prioritize customer service and industry needs.

Using a WMS ( warehouse management system) or a logistics staff scheduling software can save you time and energy otherwise spent on the tedious tasks of inventory management and tracking.

Logistics staff scheduling software allows you to keep track of your resources, production, inventory, client orders and delivery alternatives, all of which should lead to happier staff and customers.

On the other hand, through the WMS, you should be able to keep tabs on each item’s precise storage position by connecting the Bay ID (storage area) with the package ID (item). Moreover, integrating IoT in WMS can deliver unprecedented transparency.

Each shipment should be assigned a unique identification (package ID) within the WMS so that it can be tracked in and out of the warehouse, and so you know precisely where it is and its current status.

Neglecting Employee Training and Development

Your workforce is a valuable resource. Increased employee turnover is inevitable if you fail to recognize employees’ growth potential or give them appropriate challenges.

Common reasons for not investing in sufficient training include a lack of time and money. Workers need to be trained on safety and correct practices before they are allowed to work in a warehouse.

Not only may investing in training help prevent injuries on the job, but it can also improve productivity; it has the potential to increase both production and efficiency. At the same time, appropriate training conveys to employees the message that you care about their well-being, which has the potential to increase employee retention rates.


The mistakes mentioned above are just a few ways warehouse operations can go wrong. All aspects of the warehouse—including its people, processes and physical surroundings—require careful consideration.

If you can steer clear of or prevent these errors, you should have a solid foundation to develop your efforts toward continuous improvement. Additionally, you won’t have to spend excessive time trying to discover solutions.

About the Author

Rob Press

Press is a content marketing manager at Deputy, a robust scheduling software that can be used to manage your workforce in a wide variety of different industries. Aside from helping businesses reach operational efficiency, he keeps up to date with the latest trends in SaaS, B2B and technology in general.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Supply Chain Connect, create an account today!