When it comes to achieving maximum warehouse efficiency, sometimes you need to think beyond individual actions to determine how you can improve productivity while keeping everyone safe. Fortunately, there are a few innovative ways to deliver on both objectives without spending a fortune.Uniform Work Spaces
Some of the leanest warehousing companies in the world have spent decades researching the effects of uniform work spaces. What they found is that by making each work station exactly the same as the next one, it is easier to move employees around and get everyone up to a higher productivity level. This is true when you switch shifts, and when you have to move staff due to unexpected shortages. This tactic goes deeper than just using all of the same tools at each station. Many companies apply this method down to their paperclip holders. The argument for extreme organization is that muscle memory will eventually take over and cut down on time shuffling through drawers or searching for the necessary tools to do the job.
Lost Item Bins
As you gear up for peak season and your stock locations begin to overflow in anticipation of the coming sales, it's easy to see how expedient pickers may brush against shelves and knock items down. While this certainly isn't their intent, it can make a big mess in the aisles. The real problem is that they may not know exactly which location the item fell from, and if you have mixed locations, it may not be obvious at a glance. The time it takes to research the item and put it away can drastically slow down their productivity on a given task. A more effective way of handling lost items is to place empty bins throughout your warehouse to collect them. Whenever your put away team gets ahead of incoming shipments, they can pick up a few items from the lost and found, and get them back to their rightful place. This simple strategy keeps each team member working on the tasks that they are already most familiar with, and prevents your pickers from getting sidelined by a fallen item.
By keeping your aisles clean and clear, and by utilizing uniform work spaces, you can achieve new warehouse efficiency heights. Familiarity with the work station means that staffing is flexible, and productivity won't take a hit when people need to move. Meanwhile, lost item bins make it easy to keep the warehouse clean without reducing your warehouse efficiency while picking.