No one said running a warehouse or distribution center would be easy. Whether you store product or make it yourself, your warehouse more than likely is a busy hub of varied activities as you and your employees ensure that deliveries are accepted and stored properly, or found and shipped out quickly. An efficient warehouse is critical for customer satisfaction because it helps ensure quick, accurate shipments.
To help you, we’ve come up with some ideas to improve your internal engineering department makes warehouse work easier and more efficient.
- Warehouse maintenance:
Consider cleaning the warehouse area at least once a week. Specific materials need particular treatments to clean them thoroughly. You’ll more than likely be amazed at what you find there: damaged goods, unlogged returned goods, etc. Make sure you have clear and proper flashes within the warehouse/distribution areas. Signs should help workers and visitors know where to go, what is located where, how can they find and manage that product etc. you need to make it easier for your workers and visitors.
- Warehouse specification:
Think about providing your warehouse workers with uniforms. You might also want to have the shirts say something such as “Warehouse Management Team.” This provides a source of pride to your workers – after all, anyone who works in your warehouse manages the warehouse.
They show their signification that they are one team.
- Warehouse storage/receiving and productivity:
Improve and expand your receiving area. Maximize and optimize all available space. Most warehouses/distribution centers want to maximize the amount of storage space available, but this too often means a cramped receiving area. Most inventory errors begin in receiving. Providing and arranging your workers with adequate space to do their jobs can truly help keep improving those errors to a minimum.
Ask your workers where they see areas for improvement in your resource. Use the information to discover how you can change your facility to make their jobs more efficient. Implement training programs that focus on their ongoing work.
Speaking of receiving, consider moving more experienced people to receiving. You probably have more items coming into receiving than going out elsewhere in other parts of your business. Pay your clerks well and incentivize these workers with bonuses, encourage them to stay put. In fact, consider making receiving assignments promotions within your company. Consider putting descriptions on your pick tickets. Instead of SKUs, add descriptions such as “one-wheeled,” “green base.” Most databases allow you to add some descriptive phrases to your SKUs. Use them.
- Implement a regular feedback mechanism:
Your shop floor workforces are likely to be the first people to spot any problems that are impacting efficiency and productivity. Whether they escalate the problem or not depends on how connected they feel to the warehouse and operations management functions. If there is no mechanism in place for sharing feedback then it’s less likely that you’ll ever hear about whatever it is that’s holding them back. Whatever the system you put in place you will need direct feedback from the warehouse floor to understand how to improve your warehouse efficiency. A happy workforce truly is a more productive and efficient workforce. You may have created a fantastic environment that really make warehouse work a pleasure and foster that sense of team.
- Warehouse management:
A warehouse management system can help you to track the right things. It’s vital to safeguard warehouse facilities.
Create a management system to order for increase accuracy. Instigate a two-person check system for outgoing orders. Keep those mistakes to a minimum. Effective warehouse management can be summed up in three words Control, Co-ordinate and Communicate.
- Use proper labeling:
An informative label can mean the difference between an efficient and well run warehouse. Design color-coded labels for each of your larger customers. Blue for “Customer A,” Green for “Customer B,” and so on. This helps your loaders load product quickly.
Finally, make sure your workers have the loading / unloading tools they need to work efficiently. Consider providing them with custom carts that will help your workers perform their jobs.