Interested in improving your bottom line and customers’ experiences? The answer is in your warehouse, the center of your operations. These buildings are crucial to fulfilling orders, so it makes sense that the effectiveness of your space will affect your business goals.
When you improve your warehouse operations, you’ll see an incredible improvement in how well you fulfill customer orders. The key? Find ways to increase efficiency and productivity when handling materials.
Your warehouse’s efficiency and productivity are vital to delivering products effectively and enjoying more net income. In this guide, we have compiled five aspects of material handling that you can assess and improve to boost production and reduce costs and downtime. These areas include:
- Warehouse racking and storage.
- Automated storage and retrieval systems.
- New equipment.
- Warehouse safety.
By increasing your distribution center’s efficiency and productivity, you can easily make the best use of your resources and meet your objectives.
The Importance of Improving Warehouse Processes and Increasing Efficiency
Having effective warehouse processes is critical. Without taking the time to ensure they run as smoothly as possible, you may experience issues such as frequent downtime, ineffective work distribution and damaged products.
The first aspect you should assess is how well your employees load, unload and store products. After all, material handling processes power your warehouse operations. If they lack in some areas, such as complicated building layouts or defective equipment, these operations can cut into your bottom line. Improving your warehouse processes is an investment that will propel your business to success. Some advantages include:
- Reducing lead times: Deliver products faster by cutting back on wasted time. Organizing your materials and ensuring your staff work efficiently will ensure you can please your clients with quick order fulfillment.
- Improving workflow: Enhance your warehouse efficiency to help your employees know what tasks they need to complete. You can also distribute work more effectively, reducing periods of inactivity.
- Boosting employee morale: Reduce confusion and stress and set your staff up for success by improving material handling processes. Your employees will also benefit from not spending as much energy on ineffective tasks.
- Protecting your assets: Incorporate a better workflow to minimize the potential injuries and damage caused by ineffective organization. Productivity will increase when you don’t have to redo orders due to preventable errors.
- Defining your abilities: Determine what benefits you can offer to customers by assessing your warehouse operations. Taking the time to improve your warehouse management system will give you insight into what you can accomplish with your available resources.
- Cutting costs: Increase your efficiency to effectively apply your staff and machinery to jobs. As a result, you can fulfill more orders and make a greater profit.
The following strategies can help you improve your warehouse operations so you can start seeing the benefits listed above:
1. Warehouse Racking and Storage
You can increase your distribution center’s efficiency by taking the time to strategize how you store products. Some steps to achieve more efficient racking and storage include:
- Storing shipments quickly: Pushing off storing delivered items can be tempting. However, taking the time to rack your products in the appropriate places is beneficial and prevents a larger project in the future.
- Improving organization: Designing a clear system will prevent mistakes, such as grabbing the wrong product size. You’ll also reduce the time it takes for employees to find items.
- Prioritizing high-value items: Identifying which products make the most profit will help you allocate resources more effectively.
- Maximizing available space: Using every inch of your warehouse will help you save costs on renting a larger building. Incorporate narrow aisles and vertical racks to use the most space.
- Re-slotting products: Adjusting where you store products based on your shipping schedule will help you reduce travel time. Each minute you save adds up over time.
2. Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems
Automation is one of the best ways to improve material handling processes. This solution enables you to design a system that suits your unique purposes and helps workers save time looking for inventory items and storing products. Automated processes also reduce errors and travel time.
An automated warehouse management system helps you achieve peak employee performance, too. It gives you the ability to continuously stream orders, enabling your staff to work at a good pace during slow and busy periods.
Forklift telemetry, among other measuring methods, is invaluable for increasing productivity. Telemetry — or logging data and looking for trends — lets you see how to make your operations more efficient. Start by developing a clear idea of what you are measuring, how you are measuring it and why this data is important. Some aspects to log include:
- Working hours and overtime.
- Product and staff movement.
- Busy and slow periods.
- Labor expenses.
- Utility costs.
- The time it takes to process an order.
Once you establish a baseline, such as
by scheduling an audit, communicate your goals to the appropriate individuals. Enabling individuals to self-monitor their performance will help ensure consistent productivity.
4. New Equipment
Warehouse productivity relies on the effectiveness of your equipment. Purchasing new devices can have a huge impact on your operations, such as:
- Saving money on fuel costs.
- Making employees’ jobs easier, which improves morale and work ethic.
- Completing tasks quicker.
- Experiencing fewer breakdowns.
- Increasing efficiency with modern technology.
Bringing new equipment to your organization will pay for itself over time, as these devices will require fewer repairs and improve your operations. Remember to schedule regular maintenance to capitalize on this investment.
5. Warehouse Safety
Safety is a critical element of good warehouse efficiency. Integrating thorough employee training enables your staff to protect themselves and the products they’re working with. In return, you’ll reduce risks and downtime.
While organizing frequent training briefings is important, your main objective should be to create a safety culture. Developing this mindset will help prevent employees from skipping basic safety procedures. To create this culture, you can:
- Ensure managers feel responsible for the safety of their team members by consistently promoting safe work habits and leading by example.
- Provide ample safety equipment for your staff.
- Designate safe routes and traffic lanes with tape to prevent collisions.
- Assign qualified workers to jobs requiring expertise, such as operating machinery.
- Install visual reminders about ways to stay safe.
- Allow only authorized individuals into the warehouse.
- Incorporate safety features, such as crash barriers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provides various hazards and solutions you can reference when designing safety processes and plans.
Improve Your Warehouse Operations With Medley Equipment Company
When you take the time to improve your warehouse operations, you’ll also benefit from employee safety, efficiency and overall productivity. These advantages enhance your ability to deliver products to customers and achieve your objectives. At Medley Equipment Company, our solution consultants offer the resources you need to improve your efficiency and productivity. In the process, you will increase your revenue, employee morale and time management.
Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can help you!