Keeping a warehouse working efficiently to maximize returns is a daily battle. You can improve efficiency by purchasing and keeping up current equipment, maintaining safe and comfortable working conditions and paying a fair wage to your employees. To enjoy the benefits of a productive and efficient warehouse environment here are great ways to improve warehouse productivity.
Improve Employee Comfort
Warehouse work can be tiring. It’s important to make the experience as comfortable as possible, with features such as air conditioning and soft flooring to reduce foot and ankle pains. If possible, make sure your employees have a rest area and access to a kitchen. Many studies have shown that music can help improve productivity. Consider how to add music. Little things can add to making a big difference.
There are a wide range of technologies available to help make warehouse work faster and more efficient. One of the most obvious of these is upgrading a stand up workstation to a mobile cart with power. Employees can then bring a computer, printer, scanner with them through the warehouse and inefficient walking back and forth is eliminated. Other upgrade include conveyer belts bar-code based systems and voice-activated technologies.
Improve Warehouse Layout
Review the warehouse layout. Stock items in a logical order and ensure they can be retrieved easily and expeditiously. Revise the layout as necessary. Place the most popular products in the most strategic areas so workers can pick more effectively. Use a vertical automated storage and retrieval system that can be organized with the most frequently ordered products closest to the worker, allowing products to be picked faster.
Initiate task interweaving
This strategy reduces deadheading—the scenario in which workers pick products and drop them off at a dock, then return to the picking area without performing any useful tasks, such as picking products for another order along the way. A order picking cart with power can be helpful.
Increase Management Presence
Increase management presence in the warehouse. This shows workers that management is aware and understands their importance to the company. Conscientious workers will see that management recognizes their commitment. Those less diligent employees will have less opportunity to ride the clock knowing management is aware of the workings of the warehouse. Management using the principle of MBWA (Manage By Wandering Around) gain an advantage.
Implement a Warehouse Control System (WCS)
Use these tools to handle processes that can slow the performance of your warehouse management system. A WCS can control conveyors and sortation systems; optimize picking and packing waves; send pick information to voice-directed picking systems; and direct packing operations.
Rely on radio frequency identification (RFID)
RFID increases operational accuracy and efficiency by providing greater visibility into critical process points, allowing real-time inventory management and coordination within the supply chain.
Use data collection tools to track labor and benchmarking results against the norm. When workers know they are being measured, they typically improve their accuracy and pick/pack rates. Collecting the data will also help you analyze the return on investment for mobile carts with power.
While these methods for improving warehouse productivity have a big impact, the Newcastle Systems' team is especially aware of factors such as how far is the printer from employees’ desks, how long does it take for a person to walk from the managers desk to their own. Studies show that eliminating just 6 minutes of walking per hour, thousands of dollars can be saved over the course of a year.
If you are interested in saving taking minutes and turning them into thousands of dollars each year, you can review the options with our newly updated product overview. It highlights in detail products and benefits to eliminate wasted steps.