The warehouse is a commercial environment unlike any other.
It is loud, hectic, and fast paced. Heights, heavy weights, and industrial machinery are all commonplace here, so organisation is about more than just getting orders out on time. In a warehouse, efficiency is an important part of keeping employees safe.
Routines are not arbitrary in this setting.
They ensure that forklifts never clash with pickers; They lower the risk of incorrect orders and misplaced products. Meticulousness is the lifeblood of a warehouse; the smoother the operation, the easier it is to hit performance targets. The good news is that there are plenty of clever ways to boost productivity.
Keep reading for some great advice on streamlining the warehouse and getting the most of your team.
Invest in the Right Tools
In a smaller warehouse, you might be able to get away with a primarily manual system. When pickers are traversing a vast storage space, however, they need some help. Whether it is with automated wrapping machines, handheld scanners, or a simple pallet stacker; the faster they can get the job done, the more business the company will do. So, it is worth investing in the best trolleys, computer software, packing instruments, and lifting equipment.
Profile Your Orders
The one thing which all warehouses should be making a priority, at the beginning of the year and in summer, is product profiling. Look at the sales figures and identify your ‘hot pick’ items. Then, shape the warehouse around these products, because they are the big money makers. If you know that they are being picked and packed in massive amounts, make them very visible and accessible to workers. Less popular items belong in less desirable locations.
Limit Your Packing Options
It is best to keep packing options to a minimum and work around them, where necessary. Otherwise, you just end up confusing packing employees, and they spend an unfeasible amount of time picking the right materials. By all means, have custom box and parcel sizes, but make them something that is available on request. The vast majority of orders will fit into one of two or three box sizes, so don’t waste money on a range of options.
Keep an Eye on Pickers
In a warehouse, the pickers are the machine which keeps the whole operation moving. Without them, there would be nothing to pack and send, so they should be your primary focus. Carry out regular performance evaluations, because they will help you identify slower areas of the picking routine. It is also an easy way to recognize employees who consistently miss targets. Instead of using penalties to motivate, studies show that extra training and support provides superior results.
Never Lower the Standard
Every business has sales targets and markets that it has to hit each month.
However, these achievements should never come at the expense of quality, because such a compromise is a fast track to failure. Warehouses may seem chaotic at times, but they operate according to precise methods and routines. Whatever you do, don’t let standards drop. It is always better to send out fewer correct orders than it is many incorrect ones.
Why You Should Be Working Smarter, Not Harder
The goal should always be to make life in the warehouse easier.
If you can get more orders out of the door, using the same amount of resources, you are winning. It is only by eliminating areas of weakness that you can increase efficiency and realise your full potential. Automation, lifting and packing equipment is an important part of this because it frees up time for more complex tasks.