Whether there’s another global pandemic or a nationwide recession around the corner, reducing your current warehouse costs can help recession-proof your warehouse so your business can survive and thrive in 2024 and beyond.
We’ll look at warehousing predictions for 2024, share how you can reduce your warehouse costs — specifically through automation — and explain exactly how our automated solutions at Modula can reduce your operating expenses and set your warehouse up for profitability.
Factors That Affect Warehouse Cost
The cost of running a warehouse depends on several factors, such as location, size and storage practices. Understanding each contributing factor can help you take a deeper look at your warehouse costs to identify overspending and find methods to reduce your overhead.
Location has a significant impact on cost, due to the direct correlation of transportation expenses, accessibility to suppliers and customers, and regional variations in taxes, land prices and labor rates.
For example, warehouses closer to distribution channels can help reduce transportation costs, but may have higher land or lease costs.
High-demand areas, like those near major transportation hubs, usually have higher real estate prices, as businesses compete for the logistical benefits these areas offer, such as accessibility.
The bigger the warehouse, the higher the initial construction or lease costs.
Most bigger warehouses require more extensive infrastructure, such as complex electrical systems or plumbing, driving the initial setup expenses. Moreover, arger warehouses incur greater ongoing operational expenses, including electricity, personnel, and maintenance costs.
Storage and Handling
Specialized storage solutions can further affect operating costs, as they are equipped with advanced technology.
For example, a warehouse with climate-controlled storage will require heating cooling features, leading to higher energy consumption.
Wages and salaries represent a significant portion of operational expenses. States with higher minimum wages or labor demands can drive up labor costs, while factors like employee training can also contribute.
Implementing surveillance cameras and alarm systems, or hiring security personnel all come with associated expenses.
These costs can vary based on the sophistication of the security technology and the expertise of the security personnel.
For example, cameras with night vision or motion detection capabilities might be more expensive than basic cameras that do not have these features.
Insurance can impact warehouse costs, as it is determined by different factors, such as inventory value and the warehouse’s location.
For example, warehouses that store high-value items or hazardous materials can experience higher insurance rates due to the increased risk to the insurance company.
How To Reduce Warehouse Costs in 2024
Get a head start and implement the cost-saving tactics below for profitability in 2024.
Analyze Your Warehouse Operations
Analyzing your warehouse operations can help you pinpoint inefficiencies and optimize your resource allocation and processes, leading to substantial cost savings.
Assess your warehouse operations by conducting regular audits, utilizing data-driven performance metrics, implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) and getting feedback from your employees.
Evaluate Your Transportation Costs
Gauging your transportation practices can help reduce warehouse costs, as you can negotiate better rates with freight carriers, or optimize routing and delivery schedules.
Evaluate your transportation costs by analyzing your historical shipping data, reviewing current contracts with freight carriers and tracking the frequency and accuracy of deliveries.
Optimizing your warehouse space can help reduce warehouse costs, as efficient utilization reduces the need for a bigger facility and minimizes energy expenses.
Maximize space in your facility by implementing efficient warehouse storage solutions, such as vertical lift modules (VLMs), and integrating a WMS for strategic product placement — for example, placing high-turnover items closer to shipping areas to minimize retrieval times.
Practice Cross Docking
Cross docking is the practice of moving products directly from a manufacturer or supplier to a retail chain or customer. Using inbound and outbound docks, products are received, then immediately transferred to trucks for delivery.
Cross docking can help reduce warehouse costs, as it eliminates the middleman and in turn, minimizes the need for extra storage space and reduces the handling of goods.
To practice cross docking, utilize logistics software to track shipments in real-time and predict arrival and departure schedules. Then, designate specific zones within your warehouse for inbound and outbound activities to optimize the flow of goods.
Buy Used Containers
When it comes to shipping or storing your inventory, opt for used containers. Whether pallets, bins, baskets, trays, totes or others, this may be one of the easiest cost-saving tips in the warehousing industry.
Utilize the Benchmarking Technique
Benchmarking is a technique used to compare your key performance indicators (KPIs) against other warehouses in your industry, to determine how you can improve warehouse management in your facility.
To utilize the benchmarking technique, identify warehouse KPIs, such as inventory turnover and order accuracy, that are most relevant to your warehouse operations.
Then, collect data from warehouses in your industry through industry reports or surveys and analyze the differences and similarities between your warehouse’s performance and the benchmarks.
Protect Your Inventory
Key factors in financial loss when it comes to inventory include stock damage and theft — both internal or external.
If you’re not actively protecting your inventory, you’re risking financial loss.
Hire security guards, install cameras and restrict access to areas that hold your most valuable inventory. In addition, train your employees to properly handle inventory to help reduce accidental inventory damage.
Maximize Your Equipment
Maximizing your equipment means making sure it is running at 100% utilization.
To make the most of your equipment:
- Use predictive maintenance to monitor your equipment
- Track how long each machine is in use or idle to reduce unnecessary wear and tear
- Set up a maintenance schedule for each piece of equipment based on its age and condition so that it is serviced at least once a year
Cut Down on Energy Costs
Whether for electricity, gas or heat, the total cost of energy can be substantial.
To cut down on your energy costs, improve your warehouse insulation, install solar panels and upgrade older equipment with newer models that consume less power — for example, use VLMs instead of outdated vertical carousels.
Identify the methods that will prove most cost-effective for your warehouse, and make the changes needed to reap the benefits down the road.
Implement Warehouse Automation
Warehouse automation can help reduce warehouse costs in the long term, as it minimizes human error, increases efficiency and reduces costly product damage.
The Benefits of Reducing Warehouse Costs Through Automation
Automated solutions can help drastically reduce your warehouse costs. The benefits of automation include:
Reduce Your Warehouse Costs with Modula’s Automated Solutions
As the leading provider of advanced storage solutions and inventory management systems, we offer state-of-the-art innovations to help you reduce warehouse costs and set up your business profitability for years to come.
Our automated solutions at Modula include:
1. Modula Vertical Lift Modules
Make use of your existing warehouse space by utilizing every inch of your available ceiling height.
Modula vertical lift modules come in three models:
- Modula Lift: Boost efficiency, picking speeds and accuracy by up to 90% with our most popular vertical lift module.
- Modula Slim: Leverage the same innovation as the Modula Lift, but in a more compact design. Ideal for smaller warehouses.
- Modula OnePick: Completely automate your processes with the Modula OnePick. Ideal for facilities that require full automation, such as eCommerce warehouses.
2. Modula Horizontal Carousel
Working with limited ceiling height? You can count on our Modula horizontal carousels.
Check out our horizontal carousel in action in the video below!
3. Modula Order Picking Solutions
Are your picking operations quick enough to meet challenging consumer demands? Save time and money with Modula order picking solutions.
Our automated warehouse picking solutions allow your operators to simultaneously fulfill multiple orders.
Our automated warehouse picking solutions allow your operators to simultaneously fulfill multiple orders.
Our Modula Warehouse Order Picking Solutions include:
- Mobile Picking Station: Process large volume orders quickly
- Modula Picking Cart: Move inventory to and from different areas within your warehouse
- Modula Put to Light: Direct your warehouse pickers to the correct picking zone
- Modula Mobile Picking App: Manage your picking operations whether on-site or on the go
4. Autonomous Mobile Robots
Need an extra hand with order fulfillment when demand spikes? Look no further than Modula autonomous mobile robots (AMRs).
Check out our AMRs in action in the video below!
Autonomous mobile robots allow you to:
- Automate time-consuming tasks so your warehouse operators can focus on more value-added work that requires human intervention
- Increase accuracy and productivity to fulfill more orders in less time
- Balance the uptick in demand during fluctuating and peak seasons
- Adapt to evolving needs without requiring structural modifications
- Optimize inventory management when integrated with Modula’s warehouse management system
(Interested in learning more about AMRs? Check out our guide to autonomous mobile robots!)
5. Modula Warehouse Management Systems
Gain inventory control and visibility to prevent dead stock and overstock with Modula warehouse management systems.
Modula WMS is a comprehensive warehouse management software that improves the accuracy, efficiency, and visibility of all operations.
It integrates with Modula vertical lift modules and any local ERP systems to provide a complete warehouse solution.
This allows you to store and manage your data in a centrally located, easy-to-manage system. Thanks to its scalability, it can grow with your business as your warehousing needs change over time.
Modula warehouse management solutions allow you to:
- Accurately pick and replenish your warehouse inventory
- Gain better control over inventory management, preventive maintenance and material handling
- Prevent potential employee theft and unauthorized access with next-level security and identity systems
- Operate in batch and multi-order modes
Reducing your warehouse costs through automation can help you prepare for even the most unexpected situations that might lie ahead.
At Modula, our automated solutions are designed to help you streamline operations and reduce costs throughout the warehouse, from storage to picking and beyond.