Make Your Warehouse More Efficient
5 Ways to Make Your Warehouse More Efficient
Find out how to improve productivity, boost employee morale, and set your business up for long-term success.
1. MAKE THE MOST OF THE SPACE YOU HAVE
It’s not uncommon for warehouse owners to assume they need to expand their available space. However, in most cases, it’s much easier to evaluate the warehouse layout to find ways to make the most out of the space you already own.
For example, does your warehouse’s current layout force employees to backtrack over the same areas in order to fulfill simple tasks like pick and pack? If so, you are better served to reconfigure the space. Doing so will help you cut down on wasted time while also making things easier for your staff. Not only does this reduction of wasted time save you money, but it also helps your employees feel better about what they’re doing.
2. STUDY YOUR INVENTORY
While space and labor are certainly important aspects of an efficient warehouse, it’s also important that you invest in warehouse technology that focuses on inventory accuracy.
Industry experts encourage warehouse owners to adopt a method that is referred to as “lean inventory.” Lean inventory essentially means that your warehouse only houses exactly what you need.
To adopt a “lean inventory” mindset, it’s important that you few your inventory as cash. If you have too much inventory on hand, you essentially have cash tied up in a product that isn’t being used for anything.
Obviously, you don’t want to run the risk of running out of needed items, but most warehouse owners have more inventory on hand than they need. Investing in a warehouse management system (WMS) that tracks inventory in real time can give you a better grasp of inventory levels, costs, and when you need to restock.
3. ESTABLISH A FLOW
From the moment that goods arrive at your receiving dock until they are shipped out to your customers, you must have a handle on how products flow into and out of your warehouse.
Spend time studying how things work when a truck arrives at your loading dock.
– Does it take an exceptionally long time for that truck to get unloaded? If so, consider increasing the number of people working in that department.
– Once items are unloaded, how long does it take them to reach their assigned area of the warehouse? If it takes too long, look for ways to facilitate a faster process.
In the world of warehouse management, speed is imperative. Allowing items to sit on a loading dock waiting to be put into inventory is a waste of money and will eat into your bottom line.
4. WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER
“Work smarter, not harder,” nearly 100 years ago. This principle still rings true within the world of warehouse management.
When you look for ways to streamline the process of fulfilling orders, you can uncover several ways to improve the efficiency of your warehouse without having to make drastic changes.
For example, many warehouses have employees pick multiple orders at once and then sort those orders into different boxes that are then shipped to the customer. In your warehouse, would it be faster to have employees pick items and then put them directly into the box that is being shipped? If so, change the way that the picking process works.
Successful warehouse management involves constantly looking at your current processes and procedures to find ways to increase productivity without sacrificing accuracy.
5. REMEMBER THAT HAPPY EMPLOYEES ARE PRODUCTIVE EMPLOYEES
The salary that you pay your warehouse employees is often overlooked as a key factor that affects warehouse productivity.
If you are paying less than a living wage, your employees could become demotivated over time. You should spend some time studying the cost of living in your area to make sure that you are paying your employees equal to or more than a living wage to show that you value their contributions to the company.
Evaluating your current benefits packages and other fringe benefits can help ensure that you’re creating a workplace where people want to work hard, which will help increase the efficiency of your warehouse.
That’s why it’s also a good idea to consider instituting a system where employees receive incentive pay in addition to their base salary. Setting production milestones and then rewarding employees for meeting them can help ensure that everyone is working as hard as they can.