In the logistics industry, as is the case with just about everything else, good communication is vital to organizational success. If you run a warehouse, it can be challenging to keep track of all the moving pieces. Unfortunately, with warehouses spanning tens of thousands of square feet or more, traditional communication methods are no longer effective.
So, how do you keep your warehouse operating more efficiently? Here are the benefits of communication for your warehouse productivity and some of the ways you can optimize your warehouse communications.
Benefits of Communication for Your Warehouse Productivity
Most warehouses are unlikely to invest in improving communication methods unless they understand the advantages of doing so. Here are some of the reasons you’ll want to make better communication a priority in your warehouse.
The most obvious benefit of addressing communication gaps is that your staff will be more productive overall. They will have the information they need to do their jobs in real-time, which reduces downtime and improves efficiency.
Workplaces that have communication issues are likely to experience more production errors. So, addressing communication can reduce the frequency of these errors, which also saves time and money.
When communication is a priority, you will get more consistent performance from your workers. This is vital not only for productivity purposes but also as a tool for forecasting.
Better warehouse communication can have a direct impact on safety. When workers are unsure about potential hazards, they are more likely to become hurt. Improving communication can reduce the frequency and severity of workplace injuries.
Greater Employee Satisfaction
When you focus on communication, you will have more satisfied warehouse workers. Building a workplace culture that values coordination and collaboration gives your staff confidence that your business cares about their input and well-being.
When you have a more productive and efficient workplace thanks to communication, you are also going to have more satisfied customers. You’ll likely have fewer delays in order fulfillment and less errors overall. This will boost your company’s reputation and business results.
7 Ways You Can Optimize Warehouse Communications
The efficient flow of information is vital to ensure your warehouse workers understand where they need to be and what they need to do. In-person communication can be tough to maintain due to the current noise reduction ratings (NRR) of PPE headphones that workers wear. As warehouses get increasingly larger, here are some of the ways these facilities can optimize communication.
1. Intranet Software
Just about every worker knows their way around the internet. Many modern warehouses are now connected to the cloud to facilitate more visibility across the supply chain. But to improve internal communication, these businesses are also implementing an intranet, which is an internal internet system for company staff only.
Employees can use the intranet to communicate with each other and access important company-specific features. For example, workers can review company policies and safety standards on this platform.
2. Mobile Workstations
When workers have to walk across the warehouse floor multiple times each shift to access a printer or enter data, this wasted time adds up. Placing mobile powered carts on the warehouse floor eliminates wasted time and boosts overall productivity. Using mobile workstations, warehouses can reduce errors by as much as 92% and significantly trim payroll. These systems can pay for themselves in just a matter of a few months.
3. Collaborative Work
Creating better communication structures in the warehouse can vastly improve productivity and boost employee morale. When employees are encouraged to collaborate using the available communication systems, their tasks will be completed more efficiently and with fewer errors. These same employees will feel more satisfied overall in their work, increasing your staff retention rates.
4. Personal Device Use
Many warehouses have traditionally discouraged or prohibited the use of personal devices due to potential distractions. But other warehouses have shown that these policies are unnecessary. When employees use their mobile devices, they can quickly access the company intranet and any co-working software. If your company decides not to leverage this strategy, it can achieve many of the same benefits using mobile powered carts and wearables.
5. Single Communication Channels
When warehouse workers are receiving instructions from a variety of sources, this can be confusing and frustrating. A better option is to have communication with certain staff come from a single communication channel. This improves the credibility of the instructions and reduces the chances that an employee will need to seek out clarification before starting work.
The use of wearables is another effective trend in warehouse communication. Employees are using a variety of wearable devices, such as wireless headsets and smart glasses, that allow them to receive and send hands-free communication so that they continue to perform their various duties.
7. Chat Services
Lack of communication among workers in a warehouse and throughout the supply chain is one of the primary causes of inefficiency. Many warehouses are now implementing chat services to improve internal communication and encourage collaboration. These short messages between staff reduce the need to create formal emails and memos or to call for unnecessary in-person meetings.
8. Infographics and Video Communication
Instead of sending out long, text-based memos to workers that probably won’t get read, many companies are thinking outside the box. Workers are much more likely to pay attention to eye-catching infographics or short videos that convey information about things like new processes or safety procedures.
Communication is vital to the way your warehouse functions. In many facilities, the key to improving warehouse communication involves implementing a combination of these solutions, such as mobile workstations, wireless headsets, and intranets or chatrooms. These tools will help your workers improve efficiency, which boosts the overall results of your business.