Management in the distribution center can become pretty complicated at times. Excelling in this sector needs a solid eye for detail along with the ability to balance business needs with human element needs amongst your organization.
Here are 9 best distribution center practices that can assist in making certain your operations and work environment sync well together.
Make safety part of your culture
Safety is top priority when it comes to any practice needed to be implemented in a distribution center. It’s definitely not a factor that management or key players can afford to overlook. This also means that your employees should not feel under pressure to meet unrealistic expectations set as corners may be cut and injuries may occur when rushing under time-sensitive business such as order picking and distribution of any kind.
Take preventative maintenance seriously
Each piece of equipment ought to have an operational and maintenance checklist that the user needs to complete each time they use of the machine. Waiting it out until something goes completely wrong will bear severe consequences. Not only is this a safety factor, but it’s a way of preparing for downtime by being aware of mechanical issues as soon as they occur.
We currently live in a technologically advanced era and it would make sense to consider emerging technologies that you can start bringing in if your operation is of a sufficient size. If we take into consideration the previous point concerning maintenance for example, current advanced machines are able to alert you independently when a part has reached the end of its operational life.
Take a hands-on approach to returns
If you oversee a warehouse, it’s always best to handle the process of returned merchandise in-house. In this way, you’re able to get a clearer understanding of what’s coming into your facility along with what’s leaving it. You will also be aware of which products can be resold, which can be reordered and which can be repaired or disposed of.
Ask your vendors for insight
Vendors are able to provide valuable information that is needed to make the right decisions. It could be that there are machineries in your facility that are not being used to their full potential and having access to a wealth of knowledge could help you address this. Strengthening partnerships and sharing information with the OEM’s could be the best decision for your operations.
Collect data automatically
Eliminating sources of human error could improve processes. This is especially crucial in the automated collection of key data in your operations. An example would be the use of small pieces of technology such as RFID tags and barcodes that help save on labour and on lowering cases of error. Any type of data that is needed and utilized should always be easy to read, record and account for.
Reconsider operational and facility-related needs
There are specific times of the year where operations are taxed incredibly. These are periods that need a closer inspection into what you require of your building. This may be an opportunity to get new ideas on how to relieve operational disruptions, seasonal fluctuations, and more factors like using narrower racking in portions of your warehouse where you keep slower-moving merchandise in order to make space for more important operations.
Strive for simultaneous deliveries of multiple-part orders
Having products sit on the dock longer than required is a situation that is always unfavourable at best. There should be a way to ensure that multiple portions of a single order arrive at your dock as closely as possible and simultaneously if doable. The benefits of moving freight from one truck to the next without having it sit on the dock longer than needed could be very rewarding.
Ditch inventory for ongoing cycle counts
Technology may have found a way to prevent the long hours of full inventory count. Hand scanners and barcodes are one way that can implement an ongoing cycle count instead of quarterly and annual inventory counts. While some companies still do both, others may find that they can refrain from “doing inventory” altogether.
Speaking of technology, do you know yet how to select the Best Devices For Warehouse Inventory Management?