June 23, 2023
June 23, 2023

Improve Warehouse Efficiency & Increase ROI

Learn 5 practical strategies alongside best practices for improving warehouse efficiency and ways to track their effectiveness with key KPIs.


In today's highly competitive and fast-evolving business environment, optimizing warehouse efficiency has become a critical factor in achieving operational excellence. The benefits of adjusting are multiple, and efficient warehousing not only reduces costs but also ensures prompt order fulfillment and customer satisfaction. To help your business thrive, this article presents practical strategies alongside best practices for improving warehouse efficiency and ways to track the effectiveness of it with key KPIs.

Gain a competitive edge and drive profitability

Optimizing warehouse efficiency is mandatory for your business due to several reasons. First of all, by improving efficiency in warehouse operations, your company can achieve significant cost savings and reduce expenses. By maximizing space utilization, optimizing inventory levels, and streamlining processes, it becomes possible to minimize labor, storage, and transportation costs, ultimately enhancing overall profitability.

Furthermore, efficient warehouses can process orders quickly and accurately, resulting in reduced order cycle times. This not only improves customer satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of repeat business. Additionally, streamlined processes save time for employees, enabling them to focus on value-added tasks instead of inefficient manual work.

Efficiency optimization also leads to increased productivity within your warehouse. By eliminating bottlenecks, reducing errors, and implementing efficient layout designs, employees can perform their tasks more effectively, resulting in higher output in terms of picking, packing, and shipping goods. 

In total, by focusing on improving efficiency, your business can gain a competitive edge, drive profitability, and deliver better value to your customers while ensuring a safe and productive work environment.

Five strategies to streamline your operations

As you’ll experience, the article evolves around five key strategies that can significantly improve warehouse operations and enhance overall efficiency. Though there are countless of strategies to improve efficiency and productivity, we are focusing on the, according to us, five main focus points that must be taken into consideration to ensure proper warehouse preparation for the future: 

  1. Embrace automation
  2. Utilize technology
  3. Improve inventory management
  4. Optimize your space
  5. Optimize picking

Embracing these strategies positions your business for success in a competitive marketplace and ensures you can effectively meet the evolving demands of customers. This involves streamlining warehouse operations, reducing costs, increasing productivity, and delivering exceptional customer service. 

Let's delve into each strategy to uncover actionable insights that can revolutionize your warehousing operations and drive success.

1. Optimize your space

Efficient warehouse space utilization is a critical factor in reducing costs and improving productivity. By re-evaluating the warehouse layout and storage systems, your company can maximize storage capacity and minimize travel distances. Utilizing vertical space with mezzanine floors or high-density racking systems can increase storage density. Implementing slotting techniques based on product demand and velocity can further optimize space and reduce picking time. To achieve optimal space savings, Cube Storage is the preferred choice, offering the highest level of storage efficiency.

An illustration of how a traditional warehouse (in black) can fit into a much smaller space with the cube storage system (in red)h
To achieve optimal space savings, Cube Storage is the preferred choice, offering the highest level of storage efficiency.

2. Optimize picking

Picking is a critical operation in warehouses that significantly impacts overall efficiency. Employing strategies like batch picking, zone picking, or wave picking can minimize travel time and improve productivity. Analyzing order profiles, optimizing pick paths, and utilizing automated picking solutions such as pick-to-light, voice-directed picking, or goods-to-person (G2P) systems can enhance accuracy and speed. Training employees on efficient picking techniques and regularly evaluating picking performance metrics allows for continuous improvement.

Two warehouse workers at two separate AutoStore workstations picking and fulfilling orders
Picking is a critical operation in warehouses that significantly impacts overall efficiency.

3. Improve inventory management

Effective inventory management is vital for warehouse efficiency. By implementing inventory control techniques such as ABC analysis, just-in-time (JIT) inventory management, and demand forecasting, your company can minimize stockouts, reduce excess inventory, and optimize storage space. Adopting a systematic approach to inventory replenishment, including regular cycle counting and accurate record-keeping, ensures better inventory accuracy and timely order fulfillment.

4. Enable data driven decision-making

Warehouse management systems (WMS) and inventory management software are essential tools for optimizing warehouse operations. These technologies provide real-time visibility into inventory levels, enable efficient order tracking, and facilitate seamless communication between different departments. In addition, by utilizing barcode scanning, RFID tagging, and mobile devices, your business can improve accuracy, reduce paperwork, as well as streamline processes.

5. Embrace automation

Robotic automation plays an inevitable role in streamlining warehouse operations. When it comes to automating your warehouse, starting small and gradually expanding your automation efforts is a common and effective approach. It allows you to assess the benefits, learn from initial implementations, and then scale up to a full-scale automation project. For example, you can begin by automating a specific area, such as order picking, using automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) like AutoStore, which employs Robots to retrieve inventory. As you gain experience and witness the positive impact, you can gradually expand automation to other areas of your warehouse, optimizing efficiency, reducing errors, and improving overall productivity.

Measure your warehouse efficiency with key KPIs 

Measuring warehouse efficiency is crucial for assessing the performance and identifying areas of improvement. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) play a significant role in evaluating warehouse efficiency. Here are five essential KPIs commonly used to measure warehouse performance:

Order Fulfillment Rate

This KPI measures the percentage of customer orders successfully fulfilled within a specific time frame. Overall, it reflects how well your warehouse meets customer demands and indicates overall efficiency in order processing, picking, packing, and shipping. 

Calculation: (Number of orders fulfilled / Total number of orders) x 100

Learn about the order fulfillment rate Puma realized after adopting Cube Storage automation.

Inventory Accuracy 

Inventory accuracy is a critical KPI that tracks the consistency and reliability of inventory records. It measures the percentage of physical inventory that matches the recorded inventory in your warehouse management system (WMS). Note that inaccurate inventory levels can lead to stockouts, delays, and poor customer service.

Calculation: (Number of accurate inventory items / Total number of inventory items) x 100

Order Cycle Time 

This KPI measures the time it takes to process an order from the moment it is received until it is shipped. A shorter order cycle time indicates efficient order processing, minimizing customer wait times and enabling faster order fulfillment and customer satisfaction.

Calculation: (Time taken to process an order / Number of orders processed)

See how Latin America’s largest AutoStore system, at the Dafiti Group, achieved a 2-hour order cycle time.

Dock-to-Stock Cycle Time 

Dock-to-stock cycle time measures the time it takes for incoming goods to be received, checked, and made available for order fulfillment or storage. A shorter cycle time indicates swift receiving processes, efficient inventory put-away, and reduced lead times.

Calculation: (Time taken for dock-to-stock process / Number of items received)

Order Accuracy

Order accuracy measures the percentage of orders that are error-free and accurately fulfilled. It takes into account factors such as picking accuracy, packing accuracy, and order documentation. A high order accuracy rate indicates an efficient warehouse with minimal order errors and returns.

Calculation: (Number of accurate orders / Total number of orders) x 100


In conclusion, improving warehouse efficiency is essential for your business to stay competitive and deliver outstanding customer service. By optimizing space utilization, streamlining order fulfillment processes, investing in technology, monitoring KPIs, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, warehouses can achieve significant gains in productivity and customer satisfaction. Embracing these strategies will help you unlock the full potential of your warehouse operations and thrive in a fast-paced market to meet tomorrow’s demands.

Do you want to learn more about how to improve your warehouse efficiency and overall ROI? Let's get in touch today.




What makes a warehouse efficient?

Efficiency in a warehouse is achieved through factors such as streamlined processes, optimized layout and organization, effective inventory management, proper equipment utilization, and efficient use of resources like time and labor.

How can you make a warehouse effective? 

To make a warehouse effective, key strategies include implementing advanced inventory management systems, utilizing technology for automation and optimization, optimizing workflows and material handling processes, training and empowering the workforce, and continuously improving operations through data analysis and feedback.

How do you measure warehouse efficiency?

Warehouse efficiency can be measured using various key performance indicators (KPIs) such as inventory turnover ratio, order fulfillment rate, on-time delivery rate, the accuracy of inventory counts, space utilization rate, labor productivity, and cycle time for receiving, picking, and shipping processes.

Why is warehouse efficiency important? 

Warehouse efficiency is crucial for several reasons:

  • Cost savings: Efficient operations minimize waste, reduce inventory holding costs, and optimize resource utilization, leading to lower operational expenses.
  • Customer satisfaction: Timely and accurate order fulfillment improves customer satisfaction and retention.
  • Competitive advantage: A well-managed and efficient warehouse can provide a competitive edge by enabling faster order processing, shorter lead times, and better inventory control.
  • Scalability: An efficient warehouse can handle increased demand and growth without sacrificing quality or incurring excessive costs.
  • Overall supply chain performance: Warehouse efficiency directly impacts the overall performance and responsiveness of the supply chain, ensuring smooth operations and timely product availability.

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Want to learn more about this topic?

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