Tips to Increase Productivity in a Warehouse
A warehouse is an excellent experimental ground for implementing novel efficiency tactics. Because its daily operations are transparent and easy to understand even by laymen, it is easy to keep track of all changes. In fact, each new measure introduced into the warehouse can be closely monitored to see how successful it is. From worker efficiency, all the way to the introduction of trailblazing software solutions, there are numerous steps that you can take to make your warehouse more productive, resulting in increased revenue.
Changing the layout
A warehouse is not a storage unit where items are left to sit forever but they are placed on shelves and picked up every day, so accessibility is the keyword. Your workers need to access the packages easily and for this reason, the layout of the entire warehouse needs to make this process easier. The products that get picked up most frequently should be near central aisles that are the easiest to access. The same goes for the vertical layout, as the least used products should take up the topmost shelves since it takes time to get them down. If your warehouse just started operation, don’t worry if things look a bit chaotic in the beginning, as it takes time to discover just the right layout. Trial and error is a valid learning process in the storage industry.
Take care of the workforce
With the warehouse becoming ever more automated, many employers simply forget to create ideal working conditions for humans. The thing is, no matter how much robots run your warehouse, the workers still need excellent working conditions to give their maximum. This means that you should have air-conditioning on the premises and that the floors should be as soft as possible to prevent ankle or knee injuries. Also, there should be security measures in place, such a first aid kit hanging from the wall. Besides the work area, there should be a lounge area, a bathroom (obviously), and a kitchen. If the workers wish so, you could play music from the loudspeakers. Finally, keep in mind that only a satisfied worker is a productive worker!
Constantly introduce new technologies
One thing that no warehouse can operate without is machinery. It is getting smarter by the day and nowadays everything is done by pressing a button. Some of the technological novelties that are already household words are conveyor belts and a bar-code scanning system without which a modern warehouse would not be able to function properly. Technology makes daily operations easy, so always be on the lookout for the latest gadgets on the market. For instance, there are several machines that are voice-activated, thus saving time to manually input commands. Even shopping for equipment is possible on the computer, as forklift sale and hire is possible online with a single click of the mouse. All in all, IT has made the life of a warehouse worker much easier.
Increased managerial presence
You can ease the primeval tension between blue collars and white collars by making them collaborate right there on the floor. Your managers are going to come out of their offices and join the workers to guide them through their daily tasks. This way, they will know the real state of affairs, so they could make better calculations and provisions. Workers will feel more comfortable around the management and their ideas for increasing productivity will have a greater chance of being heard out and implemented. Another plus is that any workers that are slacking will be reminded by the presence of the managers that they are there to work and not sleep on the job (hopefully, not literally).
Better communication channels
A typical warehouse is a beehive of information. There is so much data flowing around that it is hard to keep track of it all and breakups in communication frequently occur. This results in orders getting lost or even worse, workers being injured. This is why it is important for all players to communicate all the time through several channels. For example, forklifts can have a GPS system with a warning feature if they get into trouble and the operator should have a radio station and Wi-Fi connection to the main office. On the other hand, packages can have several layers of identification, starting from the aforementioned bar-code, all the way to handwritten declarations. Basically, saying or writing something once is not enough, as backup info must exist someplace else.
The tips provided here are a good starting point for future ideas. Once your warehouse business is up and running, you will come up with solutions of your own how to increase productivity. However, it is likely that these new methods will have old elements, such as the use of technology or good communication channels.