3 Expert Tips to Increase Warehouse Productivity
For warehouse managers across the world, one of the most pressing issues is to increase productivity and efficiency. As warehouses and the operations that go on within are the heart of plenty of industries, it’s essential to keep costs low, and the process is flowing.
There are many factors to consider, which makes it not an easy task to solve. Labour, staffing, workloads, scheduling, logistics, other external parties, you name it.
Even if we do know all the courses of action that we need to take, making too many changes all at once can lead to confusion. What strategy is best for us depends on many variables, based on our industry, niche and specific situation.
Here are some tips on the most common aspects of running a well-oiled-up and efficient warehouse that apply to most situations.
1. Lean and streamlined operation
Warehousing today is so much more than merely acting as a storage for goods and raw materials. It has evolved significantly over time to accommodate the needs of an increasingly globalized market. And it is a turbulent and volatile one with high-level inventory management, rapid receiving and shipping management and JIT (Just in Time) deliveries.
Having a lean warehouse system allows us to enjoy the benefits of long-term and sustainable savings. It can range from reduced handling times, more efficient loading and unloading processes to increased reliability.
Put, it much more cost effective to have a smaller but efficient warehouse that a bigger but more convoluted one. Logistically sound conveyor products are pretty much everywhere these days as they are an essential tool in making this idea a reality.
2. Layout and space usage
A warehouse needs to be organized in such a way as to accommodate parking and minimize time and costs associated with receiving and sending of goods.
Many consultants are bringing up the FAST approach. It is an acronym for the four most important factors of any warehouse: Flow, Accessibility, Space and Throughput. The flow needs to be such as for products, people, traffic and processes to move without interruption.
You can achieve this by minimizing or outright eliminating cross flows. Keep all work points well-stocked with the necessary materials and tools. Accessibility is a prime concern for warehouses that have a significant number of different goods with different shelf lives.
Ideally, each product should be accessed by investing in minimal possible effort. The workforce and machinery need to navigate the warehouse with minimal obstruction.
Arrange pallet racks in a way to minimize all of these obstacles. Organize your space wisely because it’s crucial to take the most out of the warehouse. A very efficient method is to have a drive-through system.
It allows for the loading of the packages from one side while taking them off is done from the other side. This system reduces the labour and time invested in each operation, making the process much more streamlined.
Throughput is the volume of flow from the point of arrival to the point of departure from the warehouse.
It varies depending on a multitude of factors. When you’re making a plan for your warehouse, do in such a way to accommodate all with peak demands in mind.
Employees are the bread and butter of any business operation. Their opinions should be listened to, as they are the closest ones to the actual process.
Some fantastic ideas often stem from the people that have hands on the warehouse itself. It is everyone’s job to make their working experience as comfortable, safe and efficient as possible.
There is always something we can do to make our warehouse more efficient. The rest is up to us to determine a custom-tailored solution for our unique business system.