Warehouse managers have a lot of inventory that needs to be organized to keep the entire operation running smoothly. Crates and pallets need to be organized in a logical manner so you and your employees can find things quickly and efficiently. There are a lot of operations that need to work in tandem to get the job done with as little headache as possible. But if you make a few tweaks, you’ll see a big payoff in terms of the productivity of the employees and the entire operation.
Assess Your Material Handling System
If you notice that you never have the right piece of equipment to move things when you need to, assess what you actually need for your workflow. You might realize that you need one more forklift, or an upgrade on your material handling system. Maybe you even have a few pieces of equipment that are collecting dust in a corner because they no longer meet your needs. That’s a huge waste of space and funds. Think about what you actually need out of your material handling equipment.
Optimize Employee Productivity
When you have the right equipment, you can motivate your employees to be optimally productive. You need to take the time to understand picking rates, too. Labor is one of the largest costs of a warehouse operation, so taking the time to run the numbers so you can set goals to optimize your labor will increase your productivity greatly over a couple of months.
Organize Workstations for Ergonomic Efficiency
There are two benefits for making each workstation as ergonomic as possible. For of all, you workers will be able to work at their quickest pace when the station is organized for efficiency. For instance the height of their workstation should be appropriate for what they are doing so they can reach the items they need. You’ll also appreciate when workers need to take less time off of work due to injuries that were caused by a workspace that forced them to do things in an unnatural way.
There is no reward for having a complex operation system, but warehouse operations sometimes become overly complicated when one process is written over the other without looking at the entire system as a whole. Take some time to review each step in your process, and feel free to gain some input from your employees who might have a different perspective depending on what their job entails and where they are in the workflow.
Measure and Manage
You can only improve something if you are actively measuring it. When you are tracking objective measures of employee performance, you can then talk with your employees, letting them know where they can improve and helping them achieve those objectives.
Since materials are constantly moving around the warehouse, it’s very easy to take a well-organized warehouse and turn it into a space that is difficult to navigate. Constantly assess if your warehouse is organized in the most efficient way, and make sure that you have a process to ensure that the warehouse stays efficient and organized in its layout.
Plan for Fluctuations in Stock and Workflow
All businesses have times of the year that are busier, and you don’t want to be caught unaware. But there are also times when the business is slower, and you don’t want to have too much inventory. If you suddenly receive a shipment when you weren’t ready or you have too much inventory, you’ll find your warehouse disorganized very quickly.
Keeping a warehouse running efficiently is a constant process. But if you change just a few things, you’ll notice that your warehouse runs more efficiently more often.
Bio: Jeremy is a tech and business writer from Simi Valley, CA. He’s worked for Adobe, Google, and himself. He lives for success stories, and hopes to be one someday.