There’s no shortage of warehouses in America. Roughly 9,000 of them are currently up and running around the country right now! Of course, there’s a huge degree of variety in the products they’re storing, handling, packing, and distributing every day. But one thing’s for certain – each one is constantly trying to improve warehouse production and productivity.
After all, running a warehouse is far from easy in today’s landscape.
They have to be faster and more efficient than ever before in order to deliver the speedy and problem-free distribution that modern consumers expect. Throw limitations of space, manpower, machinery, and warehouse technology into the mix and you’re in for a tough time.
Do you own a warehouse and want some advice on becoming a more efficient and effective operation? Read on for 7 of the more effective ways to increase production in your warehouse.
1. Invest in High-Quality Equipment
Many warehouse owners balk at the idea of investing in higher-quality equipment.
In a bid to cut costs and raise profits, they buy old, outdated, and prone-to-error gear instead of newer, top-of-the-line alternatives.
Unfortunately, that’s a recipe for trouble in the long run. From tape guns to pallet jacks and everything in-between, old gear breaks more readily, needs fixing/replacing, and slows down the operation from start to finish.
By contrast, investing in quality equipment from the outset speeds everything up. It helps employees go about their duties in a faster and more effective manner, which leads to higher margins.
2. Train Your Employees Better
You can’t expect a poorly trained team to be supremely productive. They’re guaranteed to make more mistakes, work slower, and need more support.
The result? Everything takes longer!
Remember, a warehouse is only as effective as the employees working in it. Investing in their training will improve their confidence, skillset, conscientiousness, and effectiveness- not to mention their overall enjoyment of the job.
The warehouse will get a natural boost in production in the process.
3. Empower Your Leaders
Any organization needs high-quality leadership to function at its best.
Warehouses are no exception! You can invest in quality equipment, train your staff well, and offer as many financial incentives as you want. If the leadership team is weak, the entire operation will suffer.
Hiring the right people for the job is important. However, it’s just as essential to invest in their continued development as managers.
Provide them with the ongoing training and resources they need to excel in the role and you’ll experience a trickle-down effect. Their newfound leadership ability will create a better working culture and a stronger work ethic all-around.
A surge in productivity comes as a by-product.
4. Provide Financial Incentives to Employees
There’s nothing like the promise of extra cash to incentivize harder work from your employees!
It’s similar to the classic commission-based model of sales used in business. Tell a salesperson they’ll get a cut of any sale they make and you’re guaranteed better results overall.
The same goes for the warehouse. This time, though, you could reward a certain level of picking. If they meet a certain quota each day, then that employee gets a cash bonus. Assuming the financial reward is worth their while, you’ll see an instant boost in productivity.
5. Reduce Operational Steps
A bid to maximize warehouse productivity necessitates an ongoing hunt to improve its efficiency.
Start by auditing your entire operation and take note of every step involved. Write down everything- from the moment the product arrives at your door, to the time it’s picked, packed and shipped.
What happens? Who does what? When do they do it? And how?
Create a flowchart that tracks the journey each item takes. From there, you’ll be able to assess if you’re doing anything unnecessary and take action to speed things along. Everything from investing in < new li-ion battery technology and mobile workstations, to reorganizing the entire floorplan could make a difference.
Reduce the number of steps, increase efficiency, and watch productivity climb with it.
6. Store Inventory in the Right Places
What do your employees spend the majority of their time doing? Picking products? Packaging them? Accepting delivery of new products?
Nope, nope, and nope. As crazy is it sounds, most of their time is probably spent moving around the warehouse- especially in large-scale facilities.
The clear implication of that fact is this:
The way you layout your warehouse is key to its success.
It’s up to you to figure out a layout that’s most conducive to productivity. However, one suggestion that can make a world of difference is putting your most popular products in an accessible location near the shipping area. You’ll be able to access, pack, and ship them far quicker as a result.
7. Organize Workspaces Sensibly
Proper organization of workstations can help as well.
Position tools and equipment in logical, easily accessible locations. Clear away unnecessary mess and clutter. Remove anything that might hinder workflow and cause injury.
Taking any and all of these steps should make people faster and more effective at their roles. For example, imagine having to pack a product only to realize you’ve run out of containers and tape. You’d have to go to a store cupboard or search elsewhere before you could fulfill the order.
The entire process slows to a halt in the process.
Organizing your workflow stations better will prevent that from happening, cut down on errors, and keep employees safer all at once.
Time to Increase Warehouse Production
Running a successful warehouse is becoming more challenging every year.
With huge companies like Amazon raising the bar in operational effectiveness, customers are coming to expect ever-higher levels of service. There’s no longer any room for mistakes, damage, and/or delay in delivery.
Maximizing warehouse production while adhering to those standards is no mean feat. Thankfully, though, making a few key alterations can produce whole new levels of warehouse efficiency. We hope this post has highlighted a few of the best ones!
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