Performing Warehouse Audits: Why You Should Do Them and A Handy Checklist To Get Yours StartedNovember 25, 2020
Running a successful logistics operation means regularly checking in on the efficiency of your facilities and strategies. From creating pick lists and managing inventory to shipping items, there is much to consider in the order fulfillment process. One key component that is easy to ignore is assessing the efficiency of your warehouse. Warehouses play a much larger role than just being a place to store your inventory, as such, it’s important to conduct a warehouse audit to ensure you are maximizing your warehouse’s efficiency.
Here we’ll provide you reasons to perform regular warehouse audits as well as a handy checklist to help get your first audit started.
What is a Warehouse Audit?
A warehouse audit is an assessment that identifies efficient processes and opportunities for improvement within your warehouse. They can be performed internally or by an outside entity and must answer two main questions, “Do our procedures meet current operation requirements?” and “What can we improve?”.
Warehouse audits start with gathering data from key stakeholders. Typically, the main department involved in collecting data will be the warehouse, but other departments like IT, customer service, and production may join in as well. Each of these departments provide valuable insight, benefiting from the outcomes of the audit.
All the information gathered can be turned into documents & flow maps that help provide a clear understanding of current processes. These new reports are then evaluated so that inefficiencies, waste, and bottlenecks can be identified. The audit team finally offers recommendations, risk assessments, and action items in the official warehouse audit report. Any data gathered during the warehouse audit is also analyzed and used as a benchmark to support findings, assess costs, and find potential ways to save money.
Why Perform a Warehouse Audit?
A warehouse audit carries many benefits including:
- The ability of an audit to inform strategic decisions and opportunities for improvement
- The establishment of sustainable standards
- Continuous access to reliable data via warehouse audit reports
Warehouse Audit Checklist
An effective warehouse audit report will give you a thorough set of data you can use to measure progress. This includes operational ratios like productivity profiles, inventory profiles, and order profiles as well as reports on functional areas like shipping.
Here is a handy audit checklist with the main bits of information your audit should include:
- Material flow and logistical layout
- Functional performance and capabilities of systems
- Productivity analysis
- Inventory accuracy
- Opportunities for improvement
- Actionable recommendations
- Storage and handling equipment
Without regular reviews of your logistics operation, it can be tough to identify any weak spots and opportunities to improve. A such, a warehouse audit is an important step towards improving your fulfillment process.