Developing efficiency as a competitive advantage is important. It can improve customer satisfaction, slash overhead expenses and create a nimble and flexible operation. One part of any business that should be run efficiently is a warehouse. If warehouse efficiency is poor, this can have a definite impact on your entire business. With this in mind, here are five ways to increase your warehouse’s productivity.
- Automate Inventory Control
Inventory must be run on an automated system to create an efficient warehouse. The old way taking inventory with a pen and pad is outmoded. Instead, you need a software system in place that allows warehouse employees to automatically update inventory by scanning barcodes with mobile devices. When stock reaches a buffer level, the software will know to automatically restock to prevent shortages.
- Use Industrial Storage Designed for Safe and Easy Access
How you store stock is also extremely important. Just simply tossing new stock anywhere may lead to inventory shrinkage due to damaged products or supplies. Instead, invest in some strong steel shelving elevated off the ground that can help protect those items. You may also want to invest in shelving with pallet racks and rollers that implement gravity to create a more efficient workflow when employees need to add or remove stock.
- Optimize Your Warehouse’s Layout
One thing that could be negatively affecting your warehouse employee’s productivity is a poorly designed warehouse layout. Items should be located in a warehouse strategically. Products that need to be retrieved the most often should be located closest to the workers that need to retrieve them. Other items may need to be placed in a logical sequential order to create an efficient workflow. In certain cases, the building may need to be altered. Don’t be afraid to knock down a few walls if you need to.
- Create an Organized Order Picking System
One thing that is now used across the industry is order picking. Picking is the system used to remove stock from the warehouse so it can then be shipped to individual customers. If such a system is well designed, it can significantly increase warehouse productivity through efficient workflow. A common picking strategy makes use of conveyor belts that move products in between different worker stations. Overall, your order picking system needs to allow products to move quickly from station to station with as little human error as possible.
- Make Worker Comfort and Safety a Priority
How you treat your human resources is also vitally important. Some companies skip paying for heating and air conditioning in warehouses as a cost cutting measure even when employees must be inside during long shifts. This can actually hamper that cost cutting through high employee turnover. Also, make sure to vary employee tasks so the same employee is not performing the same action over and over again for an entire shift. Worker compensation due to injuries sustained from repetitive motion is a real cost for many companies that aren’t careful.