There are many different cogs involved in keeping a warehouse running smoothly and if one of those falls off track it usually becomes a domino effect, throwing off all the other components of the team. Naturally, this can become stressful for warehouse managers, who have to pick up the pieces and get everything moving again.
Fortunately, there are steps that can be taken to improve warehouse efficiency. From ensuring staff are properly trained to investing in a new computer system or even overhauling your standard operating procedures, implementing a few changes can make a significant different to how your warehouse operates. Here, we explore some of these steps.
Training for staff
Providing adequate training is a key part of ensuring an efficient workplace. Training should cover health and safety in depth, specifically focusing on manual handling to prevent lifting related injuries and the importance of wearing PPE whenever carrying out tasks which are a particular concern for health and safety. For example, wearing PPE work gloves to protect the hands from abrasive substances.
Standard Operating Procedures
Take some time to assess your Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and ensure all your employees are working towards the same end goal. Things to monitor during this review include how you communicate and share information within the team and the number and type of sales made so you can follow trends within your market and industry.
Setting KPIs and monitoring these on a regular basis will help you see how well the processes work and what might need changing. Keep an eye on how often mistakes occur and how these were caused, as this will help you put systems in place to reduce the frequency of these. For example, a reoccurring computer error may mean it’s time to upgrade your system.
Relevant Technology and Robotics/Automation
Staff should be shown how to use computer systems efficiently and effectively, as lack of confidence with technology and databases can be detrimental to a productive warehouse. Training for new systems should be mandatory and refresher courses should be available for those who want to brush up their skills.
Implementing an automation system can be an effective way to improve productivity. Automation and robotics technology can be used to carry out tasks which don’t require human thought, so that time can be saved, and staff can use their additional time to focus on tasks which do need a human touch.
Planning and Forecasting
A key factor in the productivity of your warehouse and staff is having access to enough stock. It’s crucial to monitor sales and track customer demand to predict the quantity of each product you need to have in stock. However, it can be a delicate balance to have the right amount to meet demand but not so much that you’re holding more money in stock than necessary, due to overordering on certain items. There are specialist software systems which can be used to forecast customer demand and help with stock planning.