Virtually all warehouses are constantly seeking ways to boost productivity and minimize waste. The good news is that ensuring warehouse productivity is possible with the right approach.
Warehouse operations are complex and involve many factors, labor costs, and inventory systems. Boosting productivity could be beneficial across every aspect of your operations. The following tips were carefully curated to help you maximize productivity in your warehouse.
One of the best ways to maximize productivity is to update the warehouse layout. A workspace that is optimized and provides an easy flow of traffic can dramatically increase productivity and avoid waste. Cluttered and disorganized workspaces can not only diminish productivity, but they also represent a risk of injury.
Optimizing a floor plan can involve the process of value stream mapping to aid in identifying any bottlenecks or non-value-added activities that exist as part of the layout of your operations. Even relatively minor changes to the floor plan could have a significant impact on warehouse productivity in some cases.
Not all warehouses make adequate use of signage or labels. While this might not be a problem for long-time staff, learning where items are located can greatly limit the productivity of new or inexperienced employees. Labeling work zones and inventory storage can improve productivity and reduce errors in inventory picking before shipping. The easier your warehouse floor is to understand, the more productivity you can expect from your workforce.
Countless man-hours are wasted due to poor inventory management. Hours that could be better spent elsewhere are instead wasted on hunting for missing inventory. Implementing a comprehensive inventory management system can be beneficial in these situations.
When incoming shipments pile up, the chances of inventory becoming lost or misplaced can increase significantly. An efficient receiving system can help reduce wasted hours spent searching for lost or misplaced inventory.
A slotting strategy can also be a powerful tool for maximizing warehouse productivity. Slotting is a system that gives the easiest access to the fastest-moving inventory while relegating slower-moving inventory farther back in the warehouse. However, slotting is only possible in warehouses that carefully classify and label their inventory.
Relying on institutional knowledge and word of mouth to share the best practices is never a good idea. Documenting your warehousing operations using standard operating procures (SOP’s) minimizes mistakes and reduces the man-hours needed to train and re-train staff. Without written processes for things like receiving or shipping inventory, bad habits can and will form.
This documentation should provide step-by-step instructions that are easy to understand. By providing clear guidelines, warehouse employees can better understand what is expected of them, thereby increasing productivity.
The profitability of many warehouses requires maximizing productivity over the long-term. These tips, combined with the right partnerships, can make a substantial difference in your ability to maximize warehouse productivity.