Achieving a fully operational, efficient and productive warehouse can prove to be quite a challenge. It’s been reported that slip and fall accidents and injury claims all amount to 95 million lost workdays annually, which is a factor that manages to hinder efficiency and productivity for warehouse managers. After all of that, there’s still poor use of space, lack of inventory visibility and inefficient picking processes that threaten and keep warehouse management from advancing.

Here are 10 factors that can be implemented in order to improve efficiency and productivity.

Communicate effectively

All parties and systems need to communicate effectively as both inbound and outbound freight can tend to result in changes regarding warehouse slotting systems. The communication shared should be able to contain as much relevant information as possible. This means that your systems and team members  should give off information important to each pick ticket or shipment – however, the data given must only be enough to allow for an order to be fulfilled completely.

Use metrics to analyze and monitor performance

While we’re on the point of communication, the one way to measure what’s being communicated lies in metrics. Metrics can also be used to analyzed and monitor performance across all warehouse operations. Staff members are also awarded incentives to increase productivity, based on performance metrics that get revealed to executives.

Maintain real-time inventory visibility and management

Your business should also influence and invest in technology that’s able to provide real-time inventory visibility and management. With this in place, your facility will be capable of handling sudden changes throughout because real-time inventory tracking assesses both average and variation in orders.

Reduce travel time to promote productive warehouse operations

The amount of time spent walking or moving between slots or other stations in warehouses is known as and referred to as travel time. Productivity is reduced by individual travel time for order pick tickets, packaging and shipping. Warehouse managers can deal with this by reducing unnecessary legs in order picking and by optimizing in-warehouse routes.

Maximize vertical space

Vertical space is known to be a cost-center for productive warehouse operations and you find that especially among pickers. However, vertical space can be maximized by optimizing vertical-space slots to reduce the amount of time needed to navigate.

Optimize slots

Warehouse managers should make use of slotting optimization technology such as modern warehouse management system (WMS). Slot assignments should change depending on the seasons and changes in inventory all throughout and they must consider both inbound and outbound freight impacts.

Simplify shipping carton options

Reducing the variability in shipping carton options is another given way of improving efficiency and productivity. The fewer the cartons, the faster the picking in packaging procedures will go.

Use software-guided sequential order picking processes

Conventional order picking processes depend heavily now on the use of automated, voice-controlled systems. With that said however, the use of these systems in tandem with wave-picking strategies causes a lot of problems for warehouse efficiency. What happens is that during peaks, there are not enough employees, but during walls, efficiency and productivity hit record lows. Your organization should utilize a software-guided sequential order picking process such as order streaming that will enable a continuous workflow to employees.

Automate processes

In order for all ideas discussed thus far to work effectively, there needs to be automation. Implement an automated WMS, and then automate all processes in your facility. It’s been reported that this might even include the use of robotic picking systems.

Implement robust training programs

Implementing effective technologies and analytics platforms will be a futile task if employees do not understand them and don’t know how to use them. This can be solved by putting in place robust training programs that can keep team members informed and up to date with the system features. The programs chosen should also include thorough reviews where everybody can give feedback.


Source: veridian solutions

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