When boiled down to its most basic components, a warehouse can seem like nothing more than a large storage room. Take a closer look, however, and you will see that within this room is cleverly arranged shelving, organized containers, and a number of complex operating systems, including security, logistics, and processing.
These essential items and systems all contribute to a warehouse’s efficiency, which, in turn, contributes a great deal to its company’s productivity.
How do warehouses contribute to productivity?
To thoroughly consider how warehouses contribute to productivity – and by which means they do so – it is first necessary to understand what productivity is. Productivity is the output of a workforce: how much work they are completing or items they are producing measured against a timescale, money spent, and number of employees. Businesses often measure this against the previous month, quarter or year to see how the changes they have made, such as hiring a new manager, rearranging an office, or implementing different working hours, have affected the company’s output.
Once this is in mind, it is not too hard to see how warehouses contribute. If a warehouse is slow to sort and organize deliveries, delayed in dispatching items to customers, understaffed, or fitted with sub-par equipment, productivity is bound to be lower than desired.
The following three essentials will boost those productivity levels.
Maximizing space and deploying financially efficient warehouse optimisations are the first port of call for lifting productivity, and the simplest way of achieving this is through top-quality multi-tier shelving. Think of building the shelving in your warehouse like building New York City – when there was no more room to build outwards, they built upwards.
Tall yet accessible shelving units make the best use of space, while an intuitive organizing system – such as placing low-turnover products higher up as they are needed less often – will make the best use of the installation.
Sturdy, compact, varied in size, and hand-labelled, containers may seem rudimentary, but they are very much part of warehouse productivity 101. It is very easy to use containers incorrectly, piling items into them at random and then finding it impossible to source the product later when it is needed quickly.
Use containers that fit your shelving, are easy to stack and move using trolleys, and that are color coded for efficiency.
Everybody in your warehouse should be trained in lifting heavy objects, but some items are just too large to do by hand. For these items, you need pallets, pallet wrap, reach trucks, and an organized pallet racking system. Pallet racking can be done in warehouses with either broad or narrow aisles, making it a productive system for big and small companies alike.
With the basic knowledge acquired, the next step is to review your current system. Calculate a way to measure your business’ productivity and consider what percentage of that the warehouse is responsible for.
Then, make the necessary changes. Be proactive and inventive with your warehouse system and consult experts if needed. Over the coming year, measure how your productivity changes and see if the alterations have worked sufficiently.