These days, we’re all obsessed with efficiency, and for good reason. Efficiency can help us maximize profits, cut back on mistakes, and even improve worker morale by creating a less stressful, safer work environment.
So, how can we maximize efficiency inside the warehouse? These five ideas are a great place to start.
When a process slows, or becomes disjointed, poor communication is often the culprit. Ensure that any communication shared between team members, or staff and the systems they use, contains all the information needed to complete the task at hand. The more times an employee has to go back and confer with another worker, or check for additional info in a warehouse management system, the more time and productivity is lost along the way.
Implement an Automated Data System
Consider using barcodes or RFID technology to capture important information on individual SKUs. Doing so, will speed up your process and reduce instances of human error that can cause a chain reaction of negative events to occur. Further, automated data systems allow you to keep all your information up to date in a centralized location where it can be accessed by anyone as needed.
Take Advantage of Automated Replenishment
This point goes along with the last. When setup correctly, an automated data system will let you know when inventory for a particular item falls below a pre-defined level, alerting you to order more. This helps you avoid product shortages and ensures that fulfillment times are always met.
Reduce Travel Time
The time spent walking to, or moving between different areas of the warehouse, is referred to as travel time. You can reduce this time by optimizing pick routes, rearranging areas within your warehouse based on order of activity, or by investing in automated or robotic solutions that quickly move products from one part of the warehouse to another. The more travel time can be reduced, the more productive your operation will be.
Automate Your Packaging and Shipping Processes
Automation has been a reoccurring theme in this article, and two areas where it can really have a big impact on productivity are your packaging and shipping processes. If your employees spend a lot of time packaging items and preparing pallets for shipments, it may pay to look at the various automated solutions out on the market. Depending on your needs, you may want to incorporate automated boxing solutions, automated pallet wrapping machines, automated pallet measuring equipment, or even fully-integrated line systems. It’s easy to spend a lot of money in these areas, so make sure you do plenty of research into the various options available, and calculate your expected ROI carefully.