How to Increase Productivity Levels in Your Warehouse
Running a warehouse can be a complex operation. Some warehouses are the equivalent size of several soccer pitches, which makes it hard to keep track of what’s happening. If you are able to deliver goods to customers on time, you probably assume that everything is running at peak efficiency, but this is not necessarily the case. There is always room for improvement, even in a warehouse that runs like clockwork. Take a look at the following tips and see if any of them would boost productivity in your business operation.
Examine Existing Processes
Conduct a review of processes and workflow. This will help you spot any problems in the system. You can’t implement changes if you don’t know how the current system works, so look at your supply chain, workflow in and out of the warehouse, and ask your warehouse staff for their insights. The people on the ground floor are usually the ones who are more aware of inefficiencies and time-sapping processes, so listen to them.
Look at the Layout
Look at the layout of your warehouse. Warehouse efficiency is easily disrupted by narrow lanes and poorly devised storage shelving. A warehouse needs to be well-organized. Look at where your goods come in and out. Is it logical? Is your packing station close to where goods are dispatched? Be aware of safety hazards and keep a close eye on your warehouse layout.
Don’t underestimate the value of technology. Modern technology solutions such as case erectors and box assembly machines can significantly reduce assembly times and boost productivity. Systems such as barcode scanning and pick-to-label are essential for an efficient warehouse system. If you haven’t yet embraced the latest technologies, now is an excellent time to start looking at your options.
Manage Stock Control
Stock control is an essential part of any manufacturing and distribution operation. If you don’t manage your stock properly, theft and errors will sabotage your business. Implement a system that tells you exactly what stock you have in real-time – and updates it as stock moves in and out of the warehouse. You need to know exactly what you have at all times. This way, you can restock before something runs out and a customer is left disappointed, and also be alert to when stock lines are not selling. Remember, stock is a liability on the balance sheet, so you don’t want to carry more stock that you need.
Don’t neglect staff training. Well-trained staff are efficient and capable of thinking outside the box when dealing with problems. Make sure staff are trained before they start a new job and maintain on-going staff training programs with a view to improving efficiency. Keep them updated with the latest technology and listen to their feedback when you introduce new efficiency measures.
It is sensible to use business forecasting software solutions to help you plan ahead. That way you won’t be caught out by spikes in demand for certain products.