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How to Improve Efficiency in the Warehouse

Some tips that should increase productivity.

At the core of any good warehouse operation is efficiency.  This is what keeps great warehouses picking and shipping stock quickly with few mistakes.  So, if you think that your warehouse or distribution centre has room for improvement, but you aren’t sure how to implement positive changes, here are some tips for increasing efficiency:

Thoughtful organisation

This may involve some DIY shelving practices in terms of organisation.  It may take a few different configurations before finding the most efficient, but you want to arrange your zones so that similar items are grouped together, which makes picking easier and less time consuming.

Rely on data

Good data is like gold in the warehousing industry.  Whatever your means of collecting data, make sure that you have enough of it to gain a comprehensive understanding of the stock movements in your warehouse.  This will help you identify areas that need new processes or attention.

Rethink your slotting strategy

Product slotting is important as a bad layout can be a substantial time-waster.  Careful product slotting can effectively reduce the distance of pick paths, resulting in more efficient product picking.

Consider the rewards

This applies to all manner of applications around the warehouse, but is very prominent in the idea of automation.  Automation can be incredibly effective at increasing efficiency, but it can also be expensive.  For some warehouses, the minimal return on investment regarding automation makes it superfluous.  Consider your ROI, bearing in mind that you can make floating shelves and DIY shelving just as efficient through human processes for a fraction of the cost.

Consider computerised assistance

There are some excellent computer programs available that can help to provide clarity in terms of processes.  Sometimes our vision can become clouded, but analytical software remains objective and can often present a completely different picture from the one we perceive.

See the big picture

Focusing too strongly on increasing efficiency in one area may result in other areas suffering.  If you are too focused on refining the picking process, the neglected stock replenishment process may be the factor that inhibits overall efficiency.  Be consistent in your revamping of processes, and make sure that changes made to one area don’t negatively impact other areas.

Don’t neglect security

As much as you may trust your staff, don’t completely dismiss proper security procedures.  Theft, no matter its scale, can impact inventory data and cost time.  This is why security, even used as a deterrent, can boost efficiency drastically.

Implement training programmes

Training for certain sections is not enough.  You need to train your employees on all the processes of the warehouse, in order to ensure that they understand how each section impacts other sections.  Regular drills will ensure that they keep learning.

These are just some of the changes that can be implemented in order to increase efficiency.  Remember that innovative processes applied to regular equipment, like floating shelves, can have a big impact on productivity.  So, if you are looking to improve the processes in your warehouse, these are some areas on which to concentrate.

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