10 Ideas for More Efficient and Productive Warehouse Operations
Thousands of antagonists to efficient and productive warehouse operations exist. As explained by Jennie Dannecker via Stanley Vidmar, slip and fall accidents and injury claims result in 95 million lost workdays annually, draining efficiency and productivity simultaneously for warehouse managers. In addition, inefficient picking processes, poor use of space and lacking inventory visibility continue to undermine advancements in warehouse management. But, your organization can improve efficiency and productivity with these 10 ideas.
1. Reduce Travel Time to Promote Productive Warehouse Operations
Travel time in warehouses refers to the amount of time spent walking or moving between slots or other stations. The individual travel time for order pick tickets, packaging and shipping eats away at productivity. Warehouse managers can overcome this problem by optimizing in-warehouse routes and reducing unnecessary legs in order picking.
2. Maximize Vertical Space
Vertical space has traditionally been a cost-center for productive warehouse operations, especially among pickers. However, vertical space can be maximized by optimizing vertical-space slots to reduce the amount of time needed to go “up and down.” In fact, this brings us to our next idea, optimizing slots.
3. Optimize Slots
Warehouse managers should utilize slotting optimization technology, such as a modern warehouse management system (WMS). Slot assignments should vary with seasons and changes in inventory throughput, and it must consider both inbound and outbound freight impacts.
4. Communicate Effectively
Since both inbound and outbound freight can result in changes to it warehouse slotting system, all parties and systems must communicate effectively. Communication should include as much information as possible without becoming burdensome. In other words, your systems and team members should provide information critical to each pick ticket or shipment, but this information must be just enough to allow for the successful completion of an order.
5. Use Metrics to Analyze and Monitor Performance
One of the most effective ways to measure communication lies in metrics, but metrics can be used to analyze and monitor performance across all warehouse operations. In addition, performance metrics for staff members may be used to provide incentives to improve productivity, like incentive pay, as explained by Curt Barry of MultiChannel Merchant.
6. Implement Robust Training Programs
Even the most effective technologies and analytics platforms lack value if employees do not understand them. Keep all team members on track with system features by implementing robust training programs. Your program should also include a thorough review of all programs or incentives offered.
7. Maintain Real-Time Inventory Visibility and Management
Your organization should also leverage technology to provide real-time inventory visibility and management. Real-time inventory tracking considers both averages and variation in orders. As a result, your facility is better suited to handle sudden changes in throughput.
8. Use Software-Guided Sequential Order Picking Processes
Conventional order picking processes have come to rely heavily on the use of automated, voice -controlled systems. However, the use of these systems in tandem with wave-picking strategies creates many problems for warehouse efficiency. During peaks, there are not enough employees, but during walls, efficiency and productivity hit record lows. Instead, your facility. Your organization should utilize a software-guided sequential order picking process, such as order streaming, to provide a continuous workflow to employees, explains Mark Wulfraat of Supply Chain 24/7.
9. Simplify Shipping Carton Options
Another way to improve efficiency and productivity is simple; reduce the variability in shipping carton options. Fewer cartons translate into faster picking in packaging procedures.
10. Automate Processes
Automation is both a final idea and essential to the effective use of all aforementioned ideas. Implement an automated WMS, and automate all processes in your facility. This may even include the use of robotic picking systems, reports Michael J. Stolarczyk of the Journal of Commerce.
The Big Picture
In the age of omnichannel retail and supply chains, efficiency and productivity are beyond reproach. Your organization needs to increase both to keep costs down and meet the growing demands of e-commerce too. To learn more about how your organization can improve efficiency and productivity, contact Veridian online today.