Constantly working to increase warehouse efficiency is vital to being successful. There are plenty of little things you can do as a manager which will have a large impact on how you do business. You’ll maintain loyalty among customers and increase your company’s bottom line. Success can also bond your employees so you deal with less turnover.
However, it is the little things leading to gaps in the efficiency of processes which often go unnoticed. Taking the necessary steps to improve those smaller areas of discord can dramatically change the big picture.
Here are a few ideas to get you started toward improving your warehouse’s efficiency:
Rely on Different Perspectives
As a warehouse manager, you are in charge of the operation as a whole. To be an effective manager, you need to also utilize the other employees you have in charge on a routine basis. Trust in your staff to find the small areas of inefficiency which are hurting operations. This can be achieved through daily walk-throughs of the warehouse and discussions with the employees doing the actual work. Often, employees are afraid to speak up about what improvements can be made to make their job easier and more efficient. Actively participating with your staff, even vicariously through the work of your trustworthy department management team, can significantly reduce problems while also boosting morale. Higher morale in itself can improve efficiency rather quickly.
Reduce Human Errors
Mistakes are an everyday part of life as a human. It goes without saying there will be mistakes made on the job daily. What management is doing to correct these mistakes matters a lot. Have a plan in place where outgoing orders and incoming inventory are always double-checked to ensure all details are correct. Making mistakes costs a company a lot of money in additional shipping costs and may potentially cost the company their most loyal customers. Create a system and implement policies where work is checked at least once more before orders are shipped out and inventory is stored away. This is especially true when training new-hires or implementing new products. While employees should be held accountable for their work habits and accuracy, realizing simple mistakes will occur is key in better warehouse management.
Clean to Increase Warehouse Efficiency
Imagine for a moment the sheer chaos in your personal life when you can’t find something you need – your car keys, the other shoe, your children’s library books – especially when in a hurry. This kind of chaos is what occurs daily in warehouses across the country. Employees are scrambling to find what they need in an unorganized, messy environment. Orders go out late and customers get angry. Implement scheduled cleaning for all areas of your warehouse to improve overall productivity and efficiency. A clean warehouse makes it easier and much safer for employees to do their job.
Review Your Warehouse Management System
If your computerized warehouse management system is dated and inefficient for your current inventory or staff, analyze your needs and upgrade as soon as possible. Effective technology can produce more accurate results for both customers and employees. Brainstorm the needs of the company overall by talking with staff who are in the thick of it then take the data along when seeking out a new management system or updated ERP. There are many areas of customized technology to explore for warehouse management. Invest in the one most closely related to how you work and forget the other bells and whistles.
Keep the Office Organized
In addition to the warehouse floor, the office space needs to be even more organized. As orders and other paperwork come in from shipping and receiving, it needs to be sorted in designated areas for easy retrieval by employees. Both time and money will be saved when staff can find the documents they need to get the job done in a timely manner. Money will no longer be lost due to misplaced orders and frustration levels will stay low around the office.
Provide Comprehensive Training
Provide set programs for training every individual working in the warehouse. Implement programs for both new-hires and long running employees, who may have become complacent over time. Keep equipment operators well-trained to protect the investment into the equipment and machines being used, as well as for safety reasons. By having everyone on the same page, all employees will understand what is expected of them and others. Throwing new employees into the mix without a thorough training will only complicate matters for the overall warehouse. Ensure management is also thoroughly trained to be more effective leaders.
Enjoy a Logical Workspace
Create a system for storage of goods in logical order. Keep top-selling items in the easiest locations. Organize storage bins to maximize efficiency of space within the warehouse for easier retrieval of goods during order picking. Keep inventory data updated at all times.
Incorporate Performance-Based Incentives
To keep employees on task each day, consider implementing a system of rewards – financial or otherwise – as a way to increase productivity. Employees who self-evaluate their own performance in order to achieve recognition for a job well done will improve their output. A little friendly competition can boost both morale and on the job efficiency.
Efficiency in a warehouse environment starts with the effectiveness of the management team. There is no wrong time to start implementing improvements to the workplace for the purpose of increasing productivity and decreasing mistakes! Keeping more revenue in-house is beneficial to everyone and customers will appreciate your company’s reliability. Give NSA a call if you need help increasing efficiency and saving money in your warehouse or distribution center.