How to Run a Warehouse Efficiently

No matter what kind of business you are running, it is important to ensure you are running it as efficiently as possible. The most efficient businesses are those able to motivate their employees to work hard, whilst ensuring they are kept happy. This results in a productive and cheerful workplace.

However, when running a warehouse efficiently, there is a lot to consider, such as inventory listing, picking and packing and many health and safety considerations. Below are five top tips which, if adhered to, can improve the efficiency running of your warehouse.

1. Optimising your warehouse space

The majority of warehouse owners know they should do this but the majority fail to do so. It can be a very large undertaking to reorganise your space, especially if you have been up and running for many years. However, it is definitely worth the time and effort it takes. Otherwise your warehouse will only become more crowded and disorganised.

You need to take the time to reorganise your warehouse and make the most of every inch of space you have. For instance check to see if you are storing things in the right place, i.e. avoid storing a 5" high product on a 10" high shelving unit. If your warehouse is old, you may even find you have to completely refurbish the inside to ensure there is no dead or wasted space.

Optimisation of your space will not only help to increase activity flow but accuracy too. It will also give you more flexibility and allow you to plan for the future.

2. Do not be afraid to invest your money in tools and technology

Many believe they're saving money employing 10 warehouse staff to do picking, instead of investing money in vertical lifts and carousels. However, it is estimated that up to 70% of a warehouse picker's time is actually spent going to and from different areas in the warehouse and searching for products. Vertical lifts and carousels greatly reduce this amount of wasted time and will give you a return on your investment extremely quickly.

Automating your warehouse will also increase your efficiency. For instance introducing bar-code scanning, software and intuitive controls, instead of hard copy pick tickets, will most certainly increase accuracy, as well as speed. This means more can be done in less time and with fewer mistakes.

3. Store your goods according to priority/ popularity

It goes without saying the most popular goods should be stored in the most accessible areas of your warehouse. It is also worth doing detailed research into the sales of your goods to see which products are often sold together. In this way you will be able to organise the goods in your warehouse efficiently and cut down on the amount of time spent travelling between picking locations. This will have a hugely positive impact on your productivity levels.

4. Involve your employees

Keep in mind the people working in your warehouse will often be more aware of what the problems are and what works well. Therefore never implement any changes before consulting with them. You may find they have extremely useful ideas about additional equipment you could install to help them. You can also get their opinion on how certain changes to warehouse set up may help, such as how installing a mezzanine level in the warehouse might solve storage issues.

You should aim to have a monthly meeting with your warehouse manager to make sure you are aware of exactly what is going on and how your employees are feeling. In this way, you are more likely to prevent any problems escalating and keep staff morale high. This will improve staff retention and motivate your employees to work harder, ultimately resulting in them being more productive.

5. Employee morale

Without a doubt, your employees are absolutely key to the efficient running of your warehouse. If your employees are not motivated or do not feel they are valued, they will not work as hard or as well as they can do. You will find lots of errors are made and that these errors are not corrected because staff cannot be bothered and do not care.

You need to treat your staff well; giving them the best tools you can to work with and making sure you always take their safety into consideration. For instance giving them performance incentives to work harder and providing them with ergonomic tools and equipment. Ultimately, if your warehouse is a nice place to work, your employees will value their jobs, work extremely hard for you and most definitely earn what you are paying them. Take a look at this site for more details:

The author of this article, James writes for the Wickens company. When not blogging about steel storage racking, he can often be found trying to motivate warehouse employees to come in on time.

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