How can you be sure your warehouse is working at maximum efficiency? While it’s always the goal, few of us get there. The more efficient your warehouse works, the greater your gains in productivity and profit. Here are a few common-sense tips to improve efficiency.
Taking Inventory: A Warehouse Efficiency Exercise
While keeping accurate product inventory is critical in warehousing and distribution, many companies don’t take inventory of their processes. This is one of the best ways to discover efficiencies and cost savings.
Think about it. Have you moved to a new space or started handling different types of products? To find out how to do things more efficiently, you’ll need to do a thorough analysis of:
- How your product enters the facility
- How it’s moved within your warehouse
- How it goes out
- The height of your shelves/racking
- The width of your aisles
- The average weight of your typical and heaviest pallets
Once you’ve done this analysis, move to focusing on the factors you can change to create greater efficiency.
Key factors that impact warehouse efficiency
By making a few small adjustments, you can greatly increase efficiency. Here are a few areas you may want to start with.
Are aisles too narrow for equipment, or are they so wide that they result in wasted space? Consider rearranging space for maximization or purchasing narrow aisle forklift equipment designed to maneuver well in tight spaces.
Are you losing valuable vertical space? Maybe your facility has 32-foot ceilings, but half of that space isn’t being utilized because your equipment doesn’t reach it. Consider buying equipment that could reach this space or adding an additional level to your facility.
Are you minimizing the wear and tear on your workers? Be sure to employ ergonomic solutions that reduce injuries in the workplace and promote productivity. These include things like lift tables, hand trucks, overhead cranes, scissor lifts, and pallet positioners.
Can you reduce the number of touches products go through once they enter the warehouse? Reducing that number is an uncomplicated way to increase efficiency. Trace your product and see where new systems could create a smoother and speedier workflow.
Automating certain functions is another way to boost efficiency and reduce touches. Consider looking at innovative technologies to help you manage your workflow. For example, logistics management software can give you transparency in stock management and inventory control. Check out robotic picking, like the Swisslog Automated Picking System, or Alibaba’s smart warehouse.
The practice of conducting an internal efficiency audit will yield insights that will enable you to work smarter and more productively. If you are looking to partner with a company that has a commitment to increasing efficiency, Langham Logistics is a smart choice to handle your 3PL needs.