Best practices in warehouse operations

Best practices in warehouse operations
December 20, 2018 Liam Smith
Liam Smith
In Business

The task of managing warehouse operations on the daily is taxing work. There are so many things to keep track of. In such a chaotic environment, increasing efficiency seems like a daunting task. There are many factors you have to balance, and constant pressure from stockholders isn’t helping. Luckily, amid this chaos, you can still find ways to optimize work. It might take some research and hard work, but it pays off in the end. Here are some examples of good practices in the warehouse.

1. Cleanliness should be improved

clean
There are tons of people and machines constantly going through your warehouse. This will lead to a variety of messes. Anything from coffee spills to oil spills. Naturally, you will find debris and parts all over the place. Warehouses are large areas and the buildup of dust is inevitable. It’s a difficult task sweeping all those floors and surfaces. Removing all of these things isn’t just a health issue, but a safety issue. Working in a warehouse means you’ll have heavy machinery everywhere. People slipping and getting harmed isn’t in your best interest, so tidying up is necessary. People aren’t the only ones at risk, either. Machines require a degree of tidiness to function properly. Cooling systems in forklifts can suck up dust and debris and malfunction often. Spending money on maintenance is a waste. You could spend negligible amounts to help clean up the workspace, and turn a profit doing it.

2. Keep it well lit

light
Warehouses are too big to be kept in the dark. The sun won’t be able to shine through every window and you need light to move inventory around. Not to mention how much visibility matters at night. Moving things around is dangerous enough without adding lack of visibility to the picture. Forklifts can weigh literal tons and if you aren’t careful with them, an injury is inevitable. Keeping things well illuminated is absolutely a necessity in a warehouse. Take into account how much lighting your workspace needs. A typical room will need about twenty Lumens per square foot of area. The warehouse isn’t a regular room so that won’t be nearly enough. You need to have things well-lit for extra safety. Try to aim for at least seventy Lumens per square foot. Don’t forget that forklifts aren’t just in-house machines. Get some good lights for the external part of the warehouse. Trucks and vans pose even more of a danger if they load things up at night.

3. Manage your inventory


Keeping your inventory in check will save you more time and money than you can count. Everything should have its place and there should be a place for everything. Efficient inventory management should be your main goal. After it is received at the dock, an item should be put in its place as soon as possible. There shouldn’t be any delays and putting things aside to be moved later isn’t an option. Mismanaged items can be a safety risk. Someone could easily trip on it or break it by accident. Orders could be mixed up and you’ll be left with an incorrect order picking. If the item isn’t in its regular spot, it can delay order fulfilment and lose you money. If an item or group of items is obsolete, don’t hesitate to get rid of it. Hoarding items unnecessarily is a waste of precious space.

4. Quality equipment is a must

forklift
The burden of productivity doesn’t just lie on workers and their work. A craftsman is only as good as the tools he wields. Good equipment is a must if you want to increase efficiency on the work floor. Many employers will buy cheap machines to decrease expenses, but this is backwards thinking. Going too cheap will only lead to more problems. Machines will break down more often and maintenance costs will skyrocket. Time spent working will be reduced if things have to be fixed all the time. The cost of productivity has to be included when thinking about the price of an item. Forklifts can break down for a variety of reasons and they are essential to everyday work. When considering proper forklift sale and hire, you need to get the best stuff so it can last longer. Skimping out on machines costs you more in the long run.

5. Workers should be comfortable


Employees are the most valuable asset any company has. Taking care of your employees is a necessary part of business. Not only does it improve the efficiency of work, but it also saves you money. Happy workers lead to increased retention and you probably prefer that to training new people. Working in a warehouse can be stressful and tiring, which means amenities should be provided. If it’s scorching outside, proper air conditioning is a must. You don’t want workers to be uncomfortable and sweaty. Soft flooring in some spaces can do wonders to reduce foot and ankle pains. With everyone walking around, this might be a good idea. Have a rest area or lounge that workers can visit during their lunch breaks. Keep it simple. Some comfortable seating and relaxing music will be more than enough to keep people happy.

Conclusion

To increase productivity in the warehouse, you have to take into account all the different things happening on the work floor. Everything affects the bottom line. The mood of your workers, quality of equipment and cleanliness are just some of these things. There are more factors to take into account, but if you with these examples, you’ll certainly have a good head start

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