Companies often think their warehouse operation is efficient as long as products leave on time and customers are happy. But most picking operations in warehouses Australia-wide could use some tweaking to streamline your processes and increase efficiency. After all, time = money!
The following are 5 tips to improve your warehouse operation:
Location, Location, Location
Evaluate which of your products complete 80% of your orders; many businesses find that around 20% of their range will fit into this category. Increase your warehouse efficiency by grouping together these products & review the setup at least once a year. This reduces travel time for your order pickers – make sure, however, that the 80-20 zone is properly designed & has the correct storage equipment to maximize space & allow for high-volume activity.
Analyse your current picking methods.
Make sure your order picking procedure suits your organization. Whether you choose single order, multi-order, batch picking with a single picker, or zone picking, the correct picking methodology is critical for optimizing productivity.
Maximise and optimise all your available space.
Rather than expand the footprint of your warehouse, consider better use of vertical space. Adding taller storage units and the right equipment to pick and store material can help you keep more in the same square footage, rather than adding expansion costs. You may also consider a raised storage platform or mezzanine floor to make use of wasted ‘air’ space.
Think about the type and variety of shelving you use. Storing small items on pallet racking wastes space, and makes it easy to misplace items. Rather than using the same racking throughout your warehouse, you may need various types of shelving for different materials. Also, try using standardised plastic or cardboard bins to help keep shelves neat and orderly.
Designate only two or three standard shipping cartons.
With only two or three boxes to choose from – plus a few custom sizes, if needed – pickers will put orders together faster. Cutting down on sizes optimises freight expenses.
Implement an incentive program for pickers.
Incentive programs can be extremely valuable to an organization. Make sure your program is effective by ensuring that productivity measurements are accurate, fair and most importantly, that your warehouse team buy into the program! Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to drive productivity in your warehouse.