There are many signs that your warehouse might not be operating properly, from unhappy customers, to tiny profits – however, it’s not always that easy to spot the cause of these issues. Perhaps your operation is delivering perfectly happy customers and maybe your daily targets are met. Still, you may have a sense that something isn’t quite right. If you recognise that feeling then here are five potential reasons why your warehouse may not be operating correctly.
There is no doubt that your staff have a big impact on whether the warehouse operates correctly. The first consideration is looking into whether staff are being properly trained, motivated and monitored. If any of these is missing then fault lines can start to develop. As many staff spend around two thirds of their time moving around or moving product it might also be worth considering part-automation to make your processes more efficient.
Do you have the right equipment for the job? Is your equipment well maintained and up to date? Do staff have access to the equipment they need within easy reach or do they have to walk to get it? You can streamline many of your warehouse processes by analysing whether there is equipment that might make tasks shorter and simpler, and whether poorly maintained or old machines are slowing everything down.
Poor adherence to safety regulations and best practices can be costly for your business if anyone is injured. However, it can also be a big obstacle to efficiency. Staff without the right protective clothing may have to find workarounds that are expensive, time consuming or dangerous. Even minor accidents and injuries can suspend productivity and if staff don’t feel confident that they are being looked after they are rarely motivated to do a great job.
Are you making the best use of the space that you have? If you can’t afford to expand outwards then are there options to go up? Taller storage units can save a lot of space and smart shelving that is product-appropriate can cut down on time spent searching. An organised space is also important – are workspaces clutter-free, organised logically and safely set up?
Technology can remove all obstacles to efficiency in a warehouse and there are many options to choose from. Make use of mobile technology for data distribution, go paper free to reduce waste and increase efficiency, and invest in barcode or radio frequency identification (RFID) to reduce errors and boost accuracy.