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How to Keep your Warehouse Efficient and Productive

Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Operating a warehouse can be a difficult process. After all, you have to manage your team, your products and even the facility in general. Over time, you may find that things start being less efficient, and unless you make the right changes, things will only get worse.

Keep your Warehouse Clean

Keeping your warehouse clean should always be your first priority. Allocate an hour or two every month to cleaning everything. You’ll probably find some misplaced orders when you do this, not to mention that employees will also be able to move around much more quickly. This will help them to be more productive and it can also stop accidents from happening too.

Remove any Clutter

If your warehouse is cluttered or unorganised then this can give a bad impression to staff, suppliers and even visitors. They may think that your warehouse is not being run properly or that your team are overwhelmed. Having a lot of clutter can also have a huge impact on employee morale too, so it is important that you keep this in mind.

Lean Inventory Practices

Maintaining a lean inventory is important. It essentially means that you only keep around what

you actually need, and nothing else. It also gives your workers less products to go through when they are trying to organise a shipment. If you want to reduce inventory then ask your suppliers to deliver smaller loads, but on a more frequent basis. You also need to try and shift stock that has been on your shelves for 6 months or more. This will free up space and it will also help you to maintain an organised warehouse too.

Organise Everything for Safety

When it comes down to it, safety should always be your main priority.  The last thing that you

want is to put your warehouse staff in danger, just to try and boost your profits. Products should never be hanging off the shelves and they should also never be stacked too high either.

Assess Shelf Storage

When you are trying to look for ways to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, you need to have a good plan. The placement of shelves really is so important because it will affect your ability to utilise the space that you have. You also need to take into account storage crates and even racks, as this will also have an impact on the overall structure of your warehouse.

Customise Organisation

The organisation of your warehouse will depend on the industry that you work in. Sometimes several items can be shipped to the same destination at the same time. Keeping all of the items in the same area will really help here because it will make it easier for your team to load everything onto the truck. If individual packages need to be sent out to multiple destinations, then try and use various systems to find out which one works best for you.

Error Rates

Packing errors do happen from time to time, but when they do, you have to make sure that you are aware of it. Software can be very useful here, and it can provide you with the key insights you need to make the right changes. If you find that errors are happening more often than you’d like, then this could be because your team are overwhelmed or because your organisation isn’t as good as it could be. Of course, robots are changing the warehouse industry more and more by the year, so it may be worth investing in something like this if you want to free up some time for your team.

Organise your Shipping Station

An organised shipping station will really help you to stay on top of everything. Time yourself or even a partner packing up a product, and then see if you can beat that time by making changes to the process. Think about it, are the scissors in the best place? Are the boxes easy to build? Are all of the labels accessible? Little things like this will make a huge difference to your employees and the job that they do.

Train your Team

Training your staff really is important. If you don’t then they may find it hard to keep up with the fast pace of your warehouse and they may even find it difficult to manage the inventory that you have as well. If you want to make a change here, then you need to train your team at least once a year.

Cycle Counts

Cycle counts are much more efficient when compared to annual inventory counts. When you do a cycle count, you will be able to keep inventory numbers much more accurate and you may even find that you can identify missing stock this way too. Of course, if you are having a problem doing your cycle count then it is always a good idea for you to outsource this aspect of your production.

Non-Value Items

As mentioned above, it is a good idea for you to have a lean inventory. This all starts with you eliminating as much waste as possible. If you want to get some help here, then you need to examine your process to make sure that you aren’t adding any unnecessary steps. You also need to make sure that your most popular products are close to the front of the warehouse, and that you implement data collection too. Making sure that you have enough work stations is also important because if you don’t then this can have a huge impact on your efficiency. Non-value items should be stored at the back, or at the top of shelves where they can be accessed without having an impact on your overall inventory.

So, there are many things that you can do to try and boost your overall warehouse efficiency and by taking the above tips into account, you can be sure to really make a huge difference to your team and even the amount of profit you can make.

 

About the author /


Simon is a creative and passionate business leader dedicated to having fun in the pursuit of high performance and personal development. He is co-founder of Applied Change, a Business Change consultancy based in the UK. Simon is also an Ambassador for Gloucestershire business. Simon is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development.

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