If you run a warehouse, then you know that there a ton of different things that all have to work together to create an efficient workplace. Unfortunately, because there are so many moving parts on the floor, it can seem impossible to manage everything all the time, which is why so many warehouses have inefficient operations.
This not only leads to decreased productivity but it can cost a lot of money in the long run as time and energy wasted is the same as pouring money down the drain.
Today we are going to look at pain points in the warehouse, as well as how to identify them and what you can do to fix them. The best thing about correcting these problems is that you can see noticeable results each time, meaning that if you make incremental changes over time, then you can gradually turn your warehouse into a peak performer.
What is a Pain Point?
Simply put, this moniker refers to a specific operation that is a cause of delays or problems on the floor. Whether it’s inventory not being sorted correctly or workers spending too much traveling from place to place, a pain point is essentially a bottleneck that can affect your bottom line.
To properly identify a pain point you have to look at your operations as a whole and see where you are falling behind. If everything seems to be lagging, then it can be hard to prioritize these points, but you should have a good idea of what is the worst offender and what is costing you the most time and money. To help you get started, here are the six most common pain points that warehouses experience, as well as advice to fix them.
#1 Inefficient Picking
When fulfilling orders, you don’t want your employees to be running back and forth between sections of the factory. Lost time in transit can add up to substantial setbacks, as a minute here and minute there can lead to days of lost productivity per year.
Typically, picking is inefficient if you don’t plan your routes ahead of time. While organization plays a significant role (we’ll get into that later), planning is just as important. Thus, an excellent way to relieve this pain point is to create lists based on product and then sort them by customer after everything has been picked. This will ensure that employees are only visiting a section once for multiple orders rather than going back over and over again.
#2 Inaccurate Reporting
This problem usually arises when inventory is not being put away properly. If you are stacking products in such a way that it’s hard to see everything, then your numbers will invariably be off on a regular basis. This can lead to over or under ordering product, which will then compound the problem and lead to even bigger setbacks later on.
The best way to combat this pain point is to have a floor layout where everything is visible. Also, you can track inventory as it arrives and leaves the warehouse rather than checking stock after it’s been put away. This can lead to more accurate numbers and a better flow overall.
#3 Not Checking Inventory Upon Arrival
Since you should be scanning products as they come into the warehouse for tracking purposes, you should also be inspecting them for damage or shortages. Too often, employees grab pallets or cases without looking at it, which means that any issues could be relayed long after you received the product.
Thus, take the time to inspect and scan everything before it’s put away so that you don’t run into issues down the line.
#4 Manually Entering Data
This is a major time suck, and it shouldn’t be happening with digital technology being so widely available these days. RFID tags and scanners are much more affordable than they used to be so you should be digitizing your inventory process.
This will not only reduce human error, but it can speed up everything as you don’t have to spend the extra time writing things down and entering it in later. Also, there won’t be any delays between taking inventory and entering it into the system, so you will never be out of date with your numbers.
#5 Lack of Communication
This is mostly related to management and staff relaying pertinent information with each other. Supervisors should be taking the lead on this as it is their job to ensure that operations are running smoothly, so consistent meetings with staff to go over issues can help to alleviate problems before they become worse.
The best way to go about it is to keep things positive at all times so that workers are more apt to come to management whenever something happens so that it can be corrected before it turns into something bigger.
This is usually the number one cause of delays in a warehouse, which means that you should spend more time on organizing your floor than anything else. Even if it seems like a massive undertaking to reformat your layout, the cost of doing nothing could be much higher. The best way to determine your ideal organization setup is to track employee movements throughout the day and see where transit is taking the most time.
Spots that get a lot of action should be bundled together, and those that don’t should be moved to a less trafficked area. Overall, the more effort you can put into streamlining your organization the better off you’ll be.