For wholesalers, fulfilment companies and retailers, managing warehouses is a critical element of your business. As the epicentre of your operations, your warehouse needs to be run with maximum efficiency if you want achieve optimal productivity levels. With a range of tech, equipment, stock and staff, however, maintaining high efficiency levels can be an on-going challenge. To optimise your operations, take a look at these seven ways to improve warehouse efficiency now:
1. Upgrade Your ERP System
If you aren’t operating with maximum efficiency, consider whether a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system would enhance your warehouse management. With the potential to upgrade your warehouse floorplan and suggest more efficient picking and put-away routes, the right ERP system can transform your business and lead to significant gains.
2. Improve Working Conditions
Your workforce plays a vital role in maximising efficiency, so it’s important that their working conditions provide a safe and productive environment. In a warehouse, managing the temperature can be challenging, which is why you’ll need to use the right equipment to cool and warm working areas.
Fortunately, there are heating and cooling appliances designed specifically for use in these types of environments. With air conditioning, ventilation and heating equipment from Chillaire Ltd, for example, keeping employees cool during the summer and warm in the winter has never been easier. What’s more – products are designed to offer a cost-effective solution for heating and cooling large areas, so you can reduce your running costs while optimising working conditions and increasing efficiency.
3. Switch to Radio Frequency Identification
Radio frequency identification (RFID) allows product serial numbers to be transmitted wirelessly. Working in a similar way to a barcode system, employees can scan serial numbers using RFID devices to minimise errors when picking items or stocking the warehouse. As well as increasing the speed at which staff can operate, an RFID system also enables you to enhance in-house recording and keep digital records of all activities.
4. Incentivise Employees
If you want staff to operate efficiently, you need to ensure that they’re motivated and loyal to your brand. Treating employees well is the first step to gaining their trust, so be sure to establish a two-way dialogue with all team members. Similarly, incentivising employees can boost their efficiency and productivity, which leads to bigger profits for the business. Incorporating gamification into your operations can be a fun way to keep staff motivated and engaged, and it can have a dramatic impact on efficiency levels too.
5. Install More Workstations
When employees are picking materials or stocking the warehouse, they will typically be on their foot, moving from one area to another. Due to this, some warehouse managers don’t see the need for multiple workstations. However, having a limited number of workstations means that employees will need to spend time walking back to their nearest station to check workflows or access materials.
When you install more workstations in strategic locations, you can ensure that employees have everything they need to hand. As a result, staff will spend less time moving from one part of the warehouse to another and more time completing critical tasks.
6. Provide Regular Training
Routine training doesn’t just increase workplace safety, but it can maximise efficiency and productivity too. Providing staff with training opportunities allows them to develop their skills and enhances their performance, which has a direct impact on your operations. Additionally, investing in staff via extra training helps to gain their loyalty and encourages them to think about in-house promotional opportunities.
As an industry, warehousing and logistics has a relatively high level of staff turnover. By using training to enhance your workforce and retain your staff, you can reduce turnover and build a team that stands the test of time.
7. Encourage Employee Feedback
When you listen to what your staff have to say, you’ll benefit from a wealth of insight and expertise. After all, they are on the warehouse floor day in, day out, so they’re perfectly placed to come up with ideas that will streamline workflows and optimise productivity. By providing them with an appropriate outlet and taking their feedback on board, you can highlight how valuable your staff are and generate commercial value from their ideas and experience.
Prioritising Warehouse Efficiency
Efficiency is an important metric for every organisation but, in warehousing, it is particularly critical. The time it takes to restock, organise and pick stock has a major impact on outputs, which is why efficiency should always be a top priority. When you conduct efficiency audits and take steps to measure and monitor in-house efficiency, you can uncover the processes that are unnecessarily time intensive. This gives you the opportunity to make positive changes that will enhance your working environment and significantly increase efficiency, productivity and profitability.