The bigger a business facility is, the harder you must work to keep it running smoothly. Juggling all those employees, materials, and space is an ongoing challenge; you want to ensure productivity without sacrificing safety. If you run a large facility or want to share a few ideas with your employer about making your workplace better, here are a few tips for improving efficiency in a warehouse or similar facility.
Grow Up, Not Out
Assessing your facility’s capacity should be an ongoing process. Expansion may not be possible or even desirable, so see what you can do with the space you have. If possible, raise your shelving and purchase equipment that allows you to reach and place materials higher and closer together. Vary the kind of shelving you use to make the best use of the space, with individual compartments for smaller and more loosely packed materials that would otherwise make poor use of larger spaces.
Check Your Equipment
Ongoing maintenance of your material handling equipment is necessary, ensuring that employees can do their jobs swiftly, efficiently, and safely. Subject your equipment to periodic check-ups and immediately report any issues or malfunctions that can impede their performance. It’s also important to keep software updated and protected against viruses. You must keep your equipment working at optimal levels; otherwise, it can lead to breakdowns in the equipment or system.
Organization at the Individual Level
Here’s another tip on improving efficiency in a warehouse or similar facility: create a culture of organization to ensure your employees can do their jobs properly. You should keep workstations and supply areas well-stocked and orderly. Extended searches for tools and materials should never be a part of anyone’s job. Ensure products have individual codes and alerts to provide notification that it’s time to restock.
Positioning Equals Speed
Think of the products or materials in your facility that are in the highest demand and where you store them. Try to shave down the distance they need to travel between your storage area and the dock or mailing center. Extra distance means reduced service. Assess your least- and most-popular items and position them accordingly. On the other hand, if you only sell a few widgets a year, keep them toward the back but stop and establish why they’re not a big seller. You may discover it’s not a lack of demand but a diminished ability to supply them quickly enough!