When most people think about warehouses, they think of them like a well-oiled machine. Everything has a place, a process and works its way through the assembly (or packaging) line. But, keeping a warehouse running like a tight ship can be more than a little challenging.
What if your warehouse is brand new? What if you drastically changed your product line, your warehouse management system (WMS) or your shipping partner? What if you had a change in leadership? (The list of possibilities could go on, but we think you get the picture.)
No matter the challenge, there are ways to keep your warehouse running smoothly, even in the midst of chaos. Here are a few of our tips.
Keep your warehouse clean.
The first step to running an efficient warehouse is to simply keep it clean. This means keeping the aisles and machinery clear of debris at all times. But, it also means ensuring your products are shelved properly where they belong.
You can do this by conducting daily, weekly and monthly checks for cleanliness and various levels of inventory audits. In our experience, assigning each aisle to a team or a specific material handler creates accountability. Not only will this increase efficiency by ensuring smooth product picking, but it will help with safety as well.
Implement a safety first mindset.
You’d think that a clean warehouse would mean a safe warehouse, right? Not necessarily. Safety is more than keeping the aisles clear of debris and shelved products in their proper places.
Warehouse safety includes implementing processes for locking machinery when it’s not in use, using marked walking pathways, implementing proper handling techniques and training employees on proper machinery usage. By implementing a safety first mindset with every warehouse employee, mistakes and injuries are much less likely to occur.
Automate only where it makes sense.
The idea of robotics and wearable technology in the warehouse can be really intriguing, especially as it comes at a much more affordable price point in recent years. But, does automation really save your company money in the long run?
Make sure to take a look at how much the replacement will cost in the long-run before you invest. Often times, it’s much less expensive to keep your labor force in place than it is to automate.
Utilize senior staffing.
It’s likely that the people doing the day-to-day work will know if there are any inefficiencies in their job role or duties. Allowing senior-level employees to walk the warehouse floor with members of the leadership teams for just a few minutes each week will open the communication channels and lead to a better understanding of warehouse operations.
While this could seem like an inefficient use of time, it can go a long way in reducing bottlenecks, implementing new timesaving methodology and in the long-term cost savings.
When in doubt, use software.
There are many different programs that can assist with your warehouse management and material handling. The type of software program you use, though, depends on your needs. Whether that’s inventory control, labor, maintenance or freight auditing, there’s guaranteed to be a solution that’s right for your warehouse.
Many companies even offer free trials and demos of their programs, so you can ensure the software is the right fit for your warehouse needs. Try a few out before you make a decision to implement.
Need help? Let us show you the way.
At King Solutions, we’re here to help guide our partners in discovering how their business can be more profitable and less of a hassle. That’s why we try to provide a multitude of ways they can work with us, including utilizing our warehousing services. Contact us today to learn more.