Basic Steps for Improving Operational Efficiency in Warehousing
Making a daily commitment to improving operational efficiency is the best path toward overall warehouse optimization. Efficiency means doing the best job possible in the least amount of time, but many people forget that investing time in maintenance, cleanliness, and organization will save time in the long run.
Practice Safety First: Preventative Maintenance
Preventative maintenance contributes to improving operational efficiency by avoiding problems or safety issues later on. Warehousing uses a lot of material handling equipment to save time, but if the equipment is faulty they will cost time later. Preventative maintenance can include
- Changing the oil or filters regularly
- Regularly inspecting hoses, belts, exhaust, brakes, etc.
- Operating equipment correctly and professionally
Staff can practice preventative maintenance throughout day-to-day actions. By avoiding safety hazards through methods like forklift accident prevention, warehouses will run smoothly and safely.
Keep it Clean
When time is short, usually cleanliness is disregard first. However, cleaning is critical to keeping warehouses efficient. When a warehouse is clean, items are easily located. Even when schedules are tight, hours should be set aside every week for keeping the facility up to snuff.
Adjust Warehouse Layout
Warehouse layout should be continually reviewed to improve workflow. To immediately improve operational efficiency in your warehouse, consider taking a closer look at how SKUs are organized. This task will contribute to continually adjusting your warehouses layout.
- Demand for different items will change throughout the year and therefore the rationale behind organizing SKUs will shift depending on the month or season.
- The most popular items should be placed close to the end of the pick line nearest the departure door.
- Use information collected from a WMS (Warehouse Management System) to determine bin setup.
Simplification in the workplace is not always a negative thing. Even Albert Einstein agreed that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Reducing shipping cartons to a few standard sizes is a great way to save time. By choosing between a few quality sizes, there is less confusion about which size is appropriate for a product.
Automate Warehouse Operations
Although warehouses have always been a staple of capitalism and industry, the way they are run has evolved over time. From forklifts to automated storage and retrieval systems, computers are becoming more a part of warehousing every day. The main purpose of automation is improving operational efficiency. Through balancing these machines with competent, experienced workers to run them, your warehouse will function more efficiently than a completely non-mechanical work force.
Give Employees Incentive
Finally, consider implementing an incentive program as a way to encourage more efficiency from your staff. Reward systems help boost morale, keeping workers more focused and by association more efficient.
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