If warehousing is a fundamental part of your business, there’s almost nothing more important than warehouse efficiency. It’s not just a major part of the bottom line, it’s about saving money with cost effective methods, saving time with smart space and logistics management, and keeping customers happy with top-notch and smooth-operating service.
Fully optimising warehouse efficiency, of course, is the tricky part. Yes, it’s about warehouse layout and design. Yes, stock management and staff training are critical, and warehouse health and safety sits above all else. And of course optimising workflows, automating processes, and reducing waste should all be prioritised. Here is level measurement equipment.
But what does all that mean in the real world – when you need all those buzzwords to be translated into actual, actionable, practical areas to starting looking into right away?
For that, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 3 areas to consider right now:
- Review efficiency levels
You can hardly begin anywhere other than getting your head around what you’re currently doing right – and more importantly, what you’re doing wrong or missing completely.
So do you have processes in place to track how effectively the resources you’re deploying are achieving your goals? Do you track goods in and goods out? Are there ways to trace inefficiencies at the source?
If you’re only now thinking about the answers, the only place to start is by standing back and making sure all of your processes are understood at the holistic level.
- How’s your layout?
But if implementing better analytical processes sounds wish-washy, then the physical layout of your warehouse certainly isn’t. An organised layout is the heart of warehouse efficiency, but over time this organisation can morph into disarray almost without you noticing. Processes get ‘overweight’ and cumbersome, safety hazards creep in, procedures become complacent, and what you’re left with in the end is a layout you’ve lost control of.
- Listen to your staff
Do you consider your staff to be solely responsible for implementing processes set from above? Or are they truly a part of your operations?
Underestimating the wider role they can play as your eyes and ears on the ground is a major mistake, as is enforcing rules that procedures that they are telling you are clearly not working or could easily be improved to make them easier, cheaper, safer, faster and more effective.
Take just the simplest of examples: double sided tapes. The closed-minded warehouse manager may have no idea that the latest double-sided adhesive technologies are so good they can in many cases replace screws, bolts and rivets, but require no special skills to use and in many cases leave no permanent trace behind. The open-minded and open-eared warehouse manager, however, will always take staff feedback and suggestions seriously – because boosted efficiency benefits everybody.
Warehouse efficiency is about the little things
But at the end of the day, warehouse efficiency is an example of where ongoing review, management and adaptation is not just part of the overall picture – it is the entire picture itself. Something as simple as listening to a switched-on worker on the warehouse floor about double sided tape technology can often prove even more effective than major schemes like renewed training processes or better managing supplier relationships. So the overriding lesson for an optimally efficient warehouse is to combine an overhead holistic view with a true understanding of the ever-evolving, real-life nuts and bolts of life from the ground floor. All the best!