Optimising Warehouse Operations: A SAVES Approach

Optimising Warehouse Operations


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A SAVES Approach

The most important thing about a warehouse is ensuring that it supports an organisations overarching strategy. But you’d be surprised how frequently this is forgotten – a failure that can be very costly.

Whenever SEC design a warehouse, we always start by considering and weighting six strategic pillars, which can be remembered using our “SAVES Cost” acronym below. These are:


Weighting each in terms of its importance to your strategy will ensure that you make good infrastructural and process design decisions. For example, is working quickly more important to your business strategy than working efficiently? If so, how much more? With effective priorities, we can then move on to identifying the improvement strategies that will have the most impact.
To help with this stage, we’ve listed some of our favourite improvement ideas for each pillar below.

Space Utilisation

  • Select an appropriate storage medium for your products (palletised storage is often not the answer) – doing so can increase space utilisation by more than 40%.
  • Consider incorporating pedestrianised storage structures, or modern autonomous mobile robotics (AMRs), both can significantly reduce the space dedicated to aisles, enhancing capacity.
  • If speed isn’t too important, consider mobile racking or shelving – it’s an under-utilised and cost-effective solution.

 A spacious, modern warehouse with tall shelving units and workstations.


  • Get a Warehouse Management System (WMS), to track inventory and processes.
  • Consider implementing modern tracking technologies such as RFID, QR Codes, or even Blockchain to more accurately track your products.
  • Remember robotics and automation are typically more accurate than humans, and are increasingly accessible and affordable.


  • Use data to ensure SKUs are located optimally, effective locationing will increase speed – and efficiency.
  • Consider utilising predictive AI that pre-emptively moves stock into quick to access locations, based upon probability of demand.
  • Voice picking, or pick-to-light systems can be highly effective at decreasing processing time.


  • Go beyond the WMS and introduce a Warehouse Execution System – or even better an Intelligence Platform such as SEC’s DIDO – these use AI to spot opportunities for efficiency impossible for humans to identify.
  • Automation may seem an obvious answer here, though it’s not always the right answer. Collaborative robotics, or semi-automation, however, can be much more flexible middle grounds.


  • Try before you buy. For example, digital prototyping using Virtual Reality (VR) allows SEC’s customers to try out processes or equipment before they invest, significantly decreasing waste and increasing the positive impact of these initiatives.
  • Consider electrification or even alternative fuels such as hydrogen – these are often cleaner solutions than the existing.
  • Make use of Solar Power – panels are great – but a cheaper, simpler option can be to increase the amount of natural light and heat you harvest.

 A large, empty warehouse with tall shelving and packing stations.

Cost Analysis

  • Focus on holistic costs, not cost minimisation.
  • Ensure that all costs are accurately accounted for, e.g. how costly is a mispick? How much energy will that new process consume? Weigh them all before making decisions.


We hope these ideas will be useful places to start, but its most important to weight your priorities, and ensure you have access to high quality expertise. Should you need any support in understanding how you can optimise your warehouse, don’t hesitate to reach out to SEC at www.sec-storage.co.uk


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SEC Group

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