Running a warehouse is a much more difficult task than most people realize. The arrival of various technologies over the years has made the job easier, but there is still a certain art to running a warehouse efficiently. Fortunately, there are a number of things that any warehouse operator or business owner can do in order to boost productivity in any warehouse that they oversee.
Make Employees Comfortable
A happy employee is a productive employee. Investing in even the simplest of comforts for your employees can make a big difference to their overall levels of job satisfaction and happiness. Make sure that your employees have a well-stocked break room, including comfortable furniture, so they can relax during their breaks.
Some studies suggest that adding a basic kitchenette area for employees to use is a particularly effective measure to take. Diet has a big impact on our health, mood and, therefore, productivity. If your employees have access to even a few kitchen utilities, it will greatly expand the range of food that they are able to prepare for themselves during breaks and lunch.
Invest in Technology
Technology has radically changed the nature of warehouses over the last couple of decades. Automation is reducing the need for human workers in some places; in other places, it allows for a much more efficient operation.
It is now trivially easy and cheap to set up a local network and connect a system of handheld terminals. If workers have these – or even a proprietary smartphone app – it is easy for them to access real-time updates on stock levels and locations.
Different types of packaging will require different equipment to work with. Identifying the best equipment for your individual warehouse’s needs is the first step towards fostering a more efficient and productive working environment.
Improve Your Layout
The layout of your warehouse and where equipment is physically located can make a big difference to the efficiency with which workers are able to complete their tasks. An inefficient layout will physically slow down workers as they go about their day. Sometimes, something as simple as moving a piece of equipment or even rotating it can dramatically alter the balance of available space.
Be More Present
Often, all workers need is a little more motivation. The presence of managers can often encourage employees to work more efficiently. However, you should be cautious of adopting too overbearing an approach, as this can end up having the opposite effect. Instead, try and strike a balance whereby you are present in the warehouse regularly enough to show that you are a dedicated member of the team, but give them enough space that they do not feel suffocated, or like you simply don’t trust them to work alone.
You should carry out annual or semi-annual audits of your warehouse’s workflow in order to ascertain how efficient your current processes are. Where you identify weak points and opportunities to improve your procedures, you should seize upon them. Time and money that you invest in improving efficiency, even by a small amount, is time and money that you will make back in improved efficiency.