Proper operation efficiency is key to the success and productivity of a warehouse, and warehouse managers sometimes have a difficult time streamlining processes successfully.
To achieve profitable efficiency, managers and operators should identify and implement proven methods and best practices. Here are 8 ways to start improving your warehouse’s efficiency for higher profits:
- Do away with manual data entry.
Manual data entry is incredibly time consuming and wasteful. Employees manually punching in long strings of numbers takes time that is surely better spent elsewhere in your operation. Furthermore, inaccuracies are more common due to human error with this method, which means that when a mistake is made, that takes more of your time and resources to fix.
One of the simplest things a warehouse operation can do is do away with manual data entry entirely, instead implement newer technology such as bar code scanners or RFID readers. This will speed up the process and allow your staff to focus their efforts on other matters.
- Say no to procrastination and develop efficient processes for tasking.
There’s one phrase that’s dangerous for the efficiency of every operation: “I’ll just do this later.” Procrastination is the enemy to productivity, to take time to complete processes from start to finish when tasking is assigned.
In warehouses or distribution, that means finishing each process that you’ve started from start to finish. For example, while the boxes from a new shipment may have been unpacked and appropriately stocked, putting off properly disposing of the empty cardboard boxes constitutes as an unfinished job. Someone will have to go back and complete the job later which severely affects the overall productivity of your employees and the operation.
- Develop rigid schedules and stick to them.
Schedules help avoid surprises and inconsistencies, so warehouse managers should develop efficient schedules and consistently hold true to them. This not only includes internal operations but outside vendor and partner operations as well.
For example, setting specific delivery or arrival windows for each vendor can help your staff stay prepared throughout the day and make the best use of your time and space.
- Make safety your top priority.
You warehouse should not simply be meeting minimum safety requirements as required by law or your specific industry. Managers should be going above and beyond to implement exceptional safety standards in a timely manner for their operation.
Safety standards go beyond basic employee protection. Creating an effective safety culture will reduce costly accidents and improve employee satisfaction, facilitating higher profits and productivity.
- Train your employees and establish accountability.
Ensure that the standards and regulations you have established are consistently met by holding your staff accountable. Set clear guidelines, criticize when necessary, and offer suggestions for improvement.
- Invest in equipment that is proven to increase productivity, efficiency, and safety.
If your warehouse or distribution center consistently moves material from one level to another, then the right equipment is essential to maintaining the integrity and success of your operation.