Warehouse productivity has a key part to play in maximising margins and ensuring that the business is able to grow at a healthy pace. However, given the rising costs of space, and the need to ensure safe and healthy conditions for employees, this is not always that easy to do. If you’re looking to boost productivity then there are some simple ways to achieve it while still balancing other responsibilities.
1. Rethink the layout of your warehouse. Does your current warehouse layout support optimum productivity? Small changes can make a big difference - allowing for easier retrieval by making the more popular products more accessible, for example, can considerably boost productivity.
2. Make processes more efficient. For example, the use of task interweaving means that employees pick products and complete other useful tasks on the way to and from the dock with those products, as opposed to simply returning without doing anything useful.
3. Give your employees more. If you want to boost productivity, making conditions more comfortable for employees can be a very simple way to do it. That could be providing air conditioning or a different flooring type to help reduce joint pain. It has also been found that music can increase productivity when played into a warehouse environment.
4. Invest in a technology upgrade. Warehouse technology today has a huge amount to add in productivity terms. Mobile workstations, for example, enable essential technology to move with employees through a warehouse for use at any time. Investing in automated storage and retrieval systems or platform lifts can reduce the time taken for tasks, as well as making the working environment safer and more efficient. It may also be worth considering implementing technology solutions to improve picking productivity, such as Pick-to-Light.
5. Ensure that management presence is prominent. Where management presence is light or non-existent this often results in low levels of motivation and, consequently, productivity. Prominent management indicates that the business cares about the warehouse and understands the importance of having a visible support system in place.
6. Use radio frequency identification. This type of technology enables major efficiency gains thanks to real-time inventory management and better supply chain coordination.
7. Invest in a warehouse control system. This will effectively help to optimise warehouse management to ensure that productivity is as high as possible. It can be used for a wide range of functions, including optimising picking and packing waves and directing packing operations.
8. Provide employees with incentives. Implementing systems to track employee performance will enable the business to identify where improvements can be made and where individuals are excelling. Staff who know they are being monitored in performance terms – and that there could be consequences, both positive and negative – are much more likely to perform better.
Investing in warehouse productivity is crucial for business survival and these simple tips can help to improve performance in any enterprise. From upgrading technology to incentivising staff, a boost to productivity is not that difficult to achieve.