Most warehouses are complex operations with several moving parts and functions happening simultaneously. They are often busy and bustling with activity with employees running around, forklifts transporting objects and managers ensuring deliveries. In the midst of all the chaos, warehouses end up being mismanaged at times. Most warehouses aim to maximize productivity by optimizing workflows, expediting output and reducing waste. But because of the number of activities, there are plenty of areas to improve productivity. With the help of a few simple tips from experts, one can make the warehouse work easier and more efficient. Let’s find out how.
Maximize and optimize available space
Try to maximize and optimize the space available in your warehouse. This can be done by various ways such as adding vertical space. By adding taller storage units and using the appropriate equipment to pick and store material, you can store more items in the same square footage, which can save you expansion costs to an extent. One mistake many warehouse managements make is using the same racks throughout the warehouse. Instead of wasting space by storing small items on pallet racks, consider using different types of shelving for different materials. Moreover, you should set up an annual examination of your layout and test alternatives. If you find an alternative to be good, then you should assess if it generates any saving or efficiency boost vis-à-vis the cost that change will generate.
Review your routes
Picking routes in warehouses are generally set and then never looked at again. But reviewing your routes regularly might be a good practice, especially if you sell new products. Set up a review of picking routes regularly, led by warehouse management, with inputs from the operations team. By testing alternative routes, you can analyze if the outcomes are expected to be better.
A lot of warehouse managers are of the opinion that adding newer technology to their warehouse operations only means adding extra expenditure with no striking results. But, investing in that extra equipment or technologically advanced systems might give you the return you never expected. For example, installing a warehouse management system (WMS) or an ERP system with a good WMS module can improve efficiency by suggesting the best routes and methods for picking or put-away. This system can also provide automated pick lists and send it to mobile readers and devices to help eliminate mistakes and reduce wasted time and paper. You should set aside time on a regular basis to assess the technology you have and what you’re missing.
Implement a feedback mechanism
One of the simplest yet ignored methods of making your warehouse more efficient is a feedback program. Your employees are the first to spot any problems that are impacting efficiency and productivity. The warehouse manager must foster team communication in order to get feedback about problems and solutions quickly so they can work on them. Additionally, there should be a regular feedback meeting for ideas, solutions and feedback to improve efficiency and make warehouse work easier.