Here Are 8 Things to Change Today
Inefficiency is a growth point stemming from numerous factors, especially for companies operating warehouses. These are the primary things business owners can change to optimize their operations.
A few quick changes streamline employees and their management teams, improving efficiency while reducing costs.
1. Give Workers Incentivizing Pay
Even someone struggling to find a job wants employment with enough pay to make their life more comfortable. If they have a physically demanding job like those in warehouses and struggle to meet the bills, slowing down or missing minor details won’t seem like significant concerns. They may be too exhausted and defeated to pour their all into what they do every day.
Research shows raising an employee’s pay by $1 boosts their average productivity by more than a dollar, benefiting them and their employers. Incentivizing staff by giving them raises is an excellent first step in making any warehouse more efficient. Improved pay makes people grateful for their jobs, leading to increased care about their responsibilities.
2. Work With Experienced Consultants
Warehouse owners often work with consultants to optimize their revenue. These experts have experience with competitive bids regarding inbound and outbound freight.
They know when their clients might overpay or could gain a better financial agreement with carriers. Business owners without even one consultant on their team could reduce their annual costs with a better negotiator at their table.
3. Create More Floor Space
Storage is everything to a warehouse’s success. Employees need to locate products easily, reach shipping stations and get freight on trucks for shipping quickly. Cluttered floor arrangements prevent those tasks from happening. The workers must spend a bit longer on each order, leading to slower deliveries and less satisfied consumers.
Overhauling an entire warehouse is an ordeal, so management teams should start small. Work on one section at a time while focusing on impactful changes. If you manage to shrink a 10 to 12 foot wide aisle to 5 to 8 feet wide, you could end up saving 15% to 20% of the area. It could add the space management needs to work with additional product types and expand the enterprise’s consumer base.
4. Implement New Inventory Software
Taking inventory is critical when managing various products throughout a large warehouse. It’s even more crucial when brands have numerous warehouses working together. Updated software systems that track inventory with cloud technology streamline communication and inventory management.
Staff and supervisors could check inventory from computers, tablets or company phones. There would be less risk of incorrect product tracking because the barcodes on each item add or subtract from the overall inventory. Removing another opportunity for human error makes any inefficient warehouse better for employees and consumers.
5. Align All Management Teams
Expansive warehouses and large organizations operate with the support of multiple management teams. If those teams have their own standards and strategies, people can’t work together as easily.
Business owners could meet with their team leaders to discuss each’s primary goals and training methods. Review how they train their workers to merge the most similar practices and eliminate any that aren’t in the company’s best interests.
A meeting would also open the door to prioritize workplace policy enforcement. When employees are slowing in productivity, enforcing policy would ensure everyone faces the same consequences if they can’t resolve their existing challenges after a warning.
Management teams could even coordinate their product analysis. Without the leadership teams working together, they could accidentally create arbitrary zone sizes for storage purposes. Those areas increase the warehouse’s inefficiency by losing optimal storage layouts and product distribution methods. If managers all focused on a solution like ABC product analysis with detailed goals, they’d eliminate inefficiencies throughout the workplace.
6. Negotiate New Delivery Timelines
The best goods-delivery systems have optimized timelines. They prevent any unnecessary downtime between inbound freight shipments, which could be the primary component making a workspace less productive. Groups dealing with overlapping deliveries won’t have the time they need to organize freight either.
Leadership should consider negotiating new delivery timelines when contracts with suppliers allow. Effective stocking requires efficient deliveries within manageable timeframes for staff to organize and unload the products.
Team size is a crucial component when considering delivery times. Five people fielding 15 deliveries an hour aren’t going to handle that volume as well as 10 or 15 employees. As employment size increases and decreases, deliveries should change to what’s within the workers’ capabilities.
7. Listen to Employee Feedback
Even after weeks, months or years spent making warehouses more efficient, there is always room for growth. The people working in the warehouse every day will likely have suggestions for better systems and processes. However, they may not always feel comfortable or welcome to speak up.
Management teams should prioritize feedback through regular team-wide and private meetings. Researchers found staff spend an average 51% of the workday on tasks with minimal value to their employers. While managers may not notice these small jobs, warehouse employees could work with them to eliminate wasted time and improve workplace efficiency.
Digital and in-person feedback methods are both necessary for honest communication. Some people may prefer a quick chat during a meeting, while others want to submit a comment anonymously. As long as they don’t face passive and intentional retribution for their feedback, their suggestions could strengthen the workplace to an optimal level of productivity.
8. Study Competitor Warehouses
Competitors push other businesses to become better. It happens directly and indirectly, no matter how successful each company becomes. Warehouse owners should study their competition to note how they operate similarly and differently. The most minor differences could close inefficiency gaps and cause positive shifts in consumer relations.
Note how competitors manage inbound and outbound freight, or what their consultant teams look like for negotiating freight bids. Nontraditional ideas are also helpful. While one enterprise owner may not use a mobile warehouse, another using the optimized mobile storage can ship more products based on the regional demand shifting each day.
Competing brands won’t spill their management secrets to each other, so this type of research takes time. It requires analyzing interviews, studying quarterly reports and noting changes in their item price or quality. Ongoing efforts will reveal more optimal choices that could benefit a warehouse lagging in revenue or productivity.
Solve Warehouse Inefficiency for Good
Warehouse inefficiency isn’t a permanent challenge. Business owners and management teams can use these ideas to improve productivity. Simple, long-term solutions like updated software, competitor research and better experts in negotiating situations could create the results employers want for their organizations.