3 Tips to Boost Warehouse Efficiency

At the heart of every successful manufacturing business is a warehouse operation that runs smoothly and efficiently. Warehouses play a critical role in the supply chain; where goods and products are accurately dispatched to customers and supplies are received for the manufacturing process. Lean warehouse operations are critical to business success and are a significant influence on the business’s bottom line.

Warehouses that are clean and organised ensure the preparation of orders and stock-take is an efficient process. It can be easy to not optimise the space that you have available to you, especially if business growth has seen an increase in the level of warehouse operations which can strain the existing procedures that are in place.

Here are 3 tips to make the running of the warehouse more efficient:

Use a warehouse management system

Just because you have always completed tasks in a set manner, does not mean that it is necessarily the best practice. A warehouse management system provides your company with an accurate inventory system that supports warehouse efficiency. The software also helps to manage the supply chain; from the distribution centre through to the customer, every aspect of the end products’ journey is accountable. Orders can be quickly turned around, and demand planning improved on.

Let necessity guide redesign

The warehouse has limited space, but is the design conducive to efficiency? Workstations need to be organised in a way that encourages efficient working. Employees should not have to move around the warehouse to get regularly needed tools or high-volume items. Identify what operatives need to do fulfil their tasks and ensure that they have what they need; standardise this order across the warehouse so that no matter which station an employee uses, they know exactly where to find the things that they need.

Similarly, the design of the warehouse should aim to reduce the time away from the workstations; for example, the washroom and toilet cubicles should not be too far away from the main areas of work – toilet breaks cause a break in the workflow.

Keep the warehouse clean and clutter free

The warehouse should always be kept clean and tidy. Introduce a cleaning schedule so that a couple of hours a week can be allocated specifically for keeping the warehouse clean and clutter free. An organised warehouse enables pickers to be able to find the products quickly without the risk of tripping or accidents happening. For the warehouse operatives, working in a controlled and tidy environment not only makes their role easier and more accurate, but boosts morale too.

You may not regularly go to the warehouse as you are office-based, but it is a good idea to walk the floor when you have availability. Having a fresh perspective on procedures that may have become entrenched in the operations can help to identify bottle-necks and inefficient actions which the warehouse management have failed to spot. There’s nothing quite as motivating as senior management making an appearance, and it’s a good opportunity to interact with personnel and listen to any recommendations that they have; efficiency will be enhanced, but you will also make staff feel valued which in turn keeps them loyal.

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