Running a warehouse efficiently can be challenging. In fact, distribution center managers understand that their warehouses are not entirely optimal; warehouses lack resources and strategies to greatly improve operations. However, there are things you can do to increase productivity and in this article, Millennium Logistics Management is happy to share 3 ways you can improve your warehouse efficiency.
Let’s explore the following strategies:
Having leadership on the floor will increase the effectiveness of your warehouse tremendously. Redundancies and unnecessary activities are inevitable, it is just part of this business (regardless of how much effort you put forth to try and avoid them). This causes bad habits to not only be hard to solve, but hard to discover in the first place (until it becomes a big problem).
To identify these habits promptly, we have found that having a member of your company’s leadership walking the warehouse floor is very effective. Doing so will allow you to ask your warehouse leaders questions to find out what the process is, how is that process being carried out and why things are being done. Having eyes and ears on the warehouse floor is a great way to pin point problems and find solutions quickly.
Keeping track of inventory error rates is a common practice, however many warehouse managers fail to take advantage of the insight available within these records. Error rates are best utilized when seen as indicators of systematic failures within your organization. To best assess and determine problem areas requires accurately logging any changes in new workers, training procedures, new technology implemented or any other changes with your warehouse. It is necessary to have the ability to put these changes on a time scale when analyzing errors to determine the difference between the ability to be reactive and proactive.
Emphasizing processes that reinforce accountability will certainly increase your warehouse efficiency because when you create an effective process that creates accountability, it also puts emphasis on the importance of accuracy.
Sometimes when creating a process, the benefits that result in these methods are lost when warehouse workers try to create their own system which ultimately affects the entire process. For example, a mistake can be made at the start of the picking process that it is not a concern to the wrongdoer, usually because they know that someone down the line (such as a packer) will eventually find and fix the problem. Again, emphasizing a process that reinforces accountability is key; rather than the packer who finds the mistake fixing the problem themselves, they should notify the picker who made the mistake and hold them accountable for their error. Near term losses in efficiency will be regained in the long term with workers that are more attentive to the little things.
These strategies will help you evaluate your warehouse operations and eliminate inefficient and redundant processes. In the end, we know that no process is perfect however, there is always room for growth and improvement and we hope you found this article to be helpful. If you are interested in more information or have questions, you are welcome to visit our website. Millennium Logistics Management has been providing corporations with the logistical expertise, guidance and solutions to establish programs that produce major savings and effective supply chain systems for over 18 years!
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