Warehouse productivity is directly linked to how well the facility is organized and optimized. Fast and reliable warehouses are able to keep both workers and customers happy, while reducing costs. If your warehouse is due for an overhaul, here are some tips.
Start with an Audit
How can you improve your processes if you don’t know what works and what doesn’t? Identify key metrics and then go through your entire operational flow to find inefficiencies. This will help you decide where to focus your attention.
Develop a lean, agile approach to getting things done. Consider investing in a warehouse management system to keep your operations on track, if you don’t already have one. You’ll be able to collect real-time data while automating some processes such as inventory tracking.
How is your warehouse layout? Are you taking advantage of overhead space? Are there clear, open pathways for workers to take a logical route between different areas? Do you remove all outdated and unused products and materials on a regular basis? Are all items logically organized and clearly labeled? A simple refresh of the space can often make a huge difference in productivity.
Check Your Picking Methodology
Do your current picking processes work with your warehouse flow? Are there stuck points? Is the equipment due for an upgrade? Picking is a huge part of warehouse operations, and slowdowns in this process can destroy overall productivity.
Pay Attention to Your Staff
Your warehouse staff is key to improving your productivity. Provide regular training. Offer productivity bonuses. Share the results of your audit, as well as regular productivity reports. Implement open lines of communication that let your employees share their opinions and report anything of concern. Treat them like the vital part of the team that they are and take their concerns seriously!
Track Your Data
It’s important to keep an eye on your operations over time. Otherwise, how will you know if your new initiatives are working or not? Track the metrics that you established during your audit, and be ready to pivot if you find that things aren’t working as well as you had hoped.
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