At first glance, every warehouse looks like a cluttered mess of boxes. However, behind the scenes, there’s a tremendously well-oiled machine. The best warehouses are efficient, slick, and monitored regularly. It’s a crucial part of your supply chain, and any holdups will cost your business dearly. It’s essential to making sure your customers get their products on time, and in perfect condition. If you run a big company with a warehouse facility, it’s time to make sure it’s up to scratch. Ready to learn how to transform your giant space into an efficient product line? Let’s take a look.
It’s very easy for things to fall apart in a warehouse environment. A small piece of information can get lost in translation. Products are misplaced, and deliveries can quickly get muddled. However, you reduce the chance of mistake when you automate the entire process. Start by automating the SKUs and order numbers. When an order arrives at the warehouse, it is already logged and tracked. You can now also invest in automated storage and retrieval machines. See for yourself at SSI-Schaefer.us. Don’t leave anything to chance in your warehouse.
Create a warehouse in a warehouse
As a business owner, you’ve probably noticed that 20% of your products account for 80% of your orders. In other words, some of your items are infinitely more popular than others. It makes sense to position those popular items at the front of your warehouse (closest to the delivery exit). When the orders come in, it’s much closer to ‘pick’ the items that are closest to you. Create zones in your warehouse based on popularity. You can also place those items at waist-shoulder height, rather than high up. It’s just common sense.
A high-tech warehouse is an efficient and watertight warehouse. Why? Because with technology, there’s much less chance of a mistake happening. With that in mind, improve your company’s use of IT. You can now invest in handheld trackers and scanners for your operators. The product information is instantly sent to their device, and they’ll scan the item to confirm it’s the correct product. It’s simple things like this that speed up the process, and reduce the likelihood of mistakes.
Monitor and improve your picking process
Unfortunately, a warehouse is like a giant beast. Whilst it may work quickly and efficiently at first, it doesn’t take long to grind down. Things become messy, and work slows down. It’s up to you to stay on top of things. The most important metric to measure is the ‘picking’ time. This is the period of time that starts when an order comes in, and ends when it leaves the warehouse for delivery. You can monitor the average picking time, and take steps to improve it.
Use incentives for workers
Unfortunately, the warehouse environment can prove a dull place to work. That inevitably leads to slowdown and the occasional error. To help stimulate your workers, and keep them at their best, try using an incentive scheme. Find out more about incentivizing your employees at humanresources.about.com.
Your warehouse is a giant part of your production line. Make sure it is smooth and efficient at all times.