6 Small Fixes to Improve Warehouse Operations
In warehouse management, there is often a shocking failure to review, evaluate and fix everyday problems. Rather than focusing on the wondrous ‘big fixes’ for warehouses, this article will consider fixing 6 of the small things that drive you crazy when managing a warehouse. While some of these problems may seem petty and unworthy of mention, it is the cumulative effect of these factors which causes most of the problems in any warehouse. Whether your warehouse runs fork-lift serviced pallet racking or overhead cranes, these small problems will make your daily routine a nightmare unless you stamp out the bad practice from the start.
1. Poor housekeeping
It may seem overtly obvious, but it is a simple fact that the expectations and performance of workers is reflected in the standards of the workplace. It is almost unheard of to find a poorly maintained office which produces exemplary work. Similarly, it is rare to find a well-kept and neat operation which is not capable of performing to a high standard.
2. No measurements
If you are running a warehouse without keeping extensive records and taking measurements from these, then you are simply hoping for the best. What measurements you will take depends upon what your business is, but they should generally include: intake, output, carryover, average time in warehouse, labor cost of operation per item, and productivity. These measurements should be taken on an hourly and weekly basis so that you can get a realistic picture of the operation of your business.
3. Poor planning of slotting
Slotting is the allocation of space to a particular product. If you have a slot which is too small, then you will have to fill it too often. If a slot is too big, you are wasting space. Slotting makes potentially the largest difference to your operations so slotting should be reviewed and optimized on a very regular basis.
4. Missing chances to ‘slap’ it out
Items which arrive at your warehouse pre-packed and ready for postage should be sent as such. Too many companies miss the opportunity to ‘slap’ a postage label on the box and send it off. Instead, the item ends up being treated like any other; collected, packed and then sent off. This is a drastic waste of time, resource and energy. Put systems in place to notice when an item can be ‘slapped’ out and make the most this time saving opportunity.
5. Excessive checking
Often, companies have an excessive level of checking which requires a bottle-neck before packing. This is usually unnecessary as barcode systems and weight checking systems will provide a near-perfect check without the extra expenditure and without the bottleneck.
With only the best of intentions, many packers put far too much effort into the packing of each product. In every packing system, there is one fast way to do it and 101 other ways. Providing better training to your packers will prevent this from slowing your processes down too greatly. Packing is already the biggest bottleneck in the process of shipping so better directions could make all of the difference.