If your business operations involve a warehouse, then you’ll already know that if the warehouse is functioning well, then the business is functioning well. But here’s the thing: when it comes to this aspect of a business, it’s not always easy to get things right. Indeed, sometimes it feels like it’s here where all the limitations and errors of humans come to life. We are a highly inefficient species, and if there was ever any doubt, just look at the laborious process of picking and sending orders. The good news is that a lot of research has been conducted in recent times, in order to boost warehouse productivity. We take a look a few tried and tested tips below.
Perform an Analysis
How can you know where you need to go, if you don’t know where you are? Take a step back, and look at how you’re currently functioning through a critical lens. Companies get into a habit of just doing things they’ve always done them, but it’s not always clear if that’s actually the correct way of doing things, or just the most comfortable. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, look at hiring an outside expert. They’ll be able to spot flaws that you can’t see, because you’re “too close” to things.
Studies have shown that unless you know where everything is (“controlled madness”), then it’s much more efficient to work in an obviously organized office rather than one that’s overly chaotic. And if that’s true for a small office space, just think how true it’d be for a warehouse. It’s a much bigger space, with dozens of employees, and an ever-changing stock. If things aren’t organized properly, then there’ll be many hours lost just trying to navigate the space. But of course, in a warehouse, space is an issue. There’s only so much room you have to store your goods. So why not look at making things more spacious? Mezzanine floors add extra warehouse space, and also value, for instance. You’ll find it’s much easier to retrieve goods once the warehouse is more manageable and better organized.
Let’s just think about where these inefficiencies come from. It’s not the products, or even really the space — the mistakes are made from humans, otherwise known as your staff. The better trained they are, the better they’ll be able to perform tasks in the warehouse. Most workers who are employed in factory-style environments only receive the bare minimum when it comes to training. But if this is the case, then you can’t exactly blame them if they’re not working as efficiently as humanly possible. They need training. Make sure you’re devoting some time each month to brush up on the latest practices and the like.
Get Staff Feedback
And talking about staff, the dialogue you have with them shouldn’t just be one way. It should be a dialogue. While you may have a “big picture” understanding of what’s happening at your warehouse, they’re the ones who are on the ground, working there, every single day. They’ll see flaws and have ideas about how operations can be improved that you couldn’t, simply because you see things from another angle. Make sure you have the type of relationship where your staff feel comfortable approaching you — it really does make a difference.
Abandon Space Wasters
Unless you have a warehouse that’s the size of a football field, then you’re going to have to be selective about the items that you’re storing there, even if you have taken steps to make it more spacious. But if things are crowded, how do you figure out what items should stay, and which should go? It’s all about following the money. If you’re storing stock that’s low-value, or, even worse, which you haven’t sold (yet still own), then it makes more sense to cut your losses and make room for higher-yielding goods than wasting your space.
Technology has come on a long way in recent years, especially when it comes to warehouse operations. There are all goods of software that you can use to keep tabs on the functionality of the space, which can tell you when you’re running low on a product, how long it takes to pick goods, and so on. You may also want to look at automating some of your operations. This technology shouldn’t replace a worker, but rather make their life easier.
Take the above tips, and you’ll find that your warehouse is running much more efficiently!