A productive warehouse relies heavily on several key aspects -- proper shelving, proper storage, proper packaging, well-trained staff and reduced risk. The goal in any warehouse is to improve efficiency and reduce costs. Typically improving efficiency does reduce overall costs.
A November 2012 survey found that distribution center managers understand that their warehouses aren’t entirely optimal. But, they lack the time, resources and strategies to greatly improve operations. Specifically, the survey found that mid-sized warehouses (approximately 50 workers) lose almost 3,000 hours a year due to workforce inefficiencies. Additionally, while 89 percent of those surveyed indicated that new technology could help managers recoup these inefficiencies, only 70 percent had conducted a thorough review of practices in the warehouse in the past year.
Increasing warehouse efficiency is a top priority for warehouse managers everywhere. But what’s the most effective method for increasing warehouse efficiency? With so many variables in play, such as labor, staffing, workloads, scheduling, and third-party vendors (over which you have less control), it can be difficult to pinpoint the areas you should be focusing on in order to become more efficient. Numerous warehouse experts agree that tracking metrics is a good way to improve warehouse productivity. The key questions you should be asking yourself are:
- What key metrics do you measure productivity with?
- What is your baseline (i.e. where are you starting from)?
- What is your target? How are you tracking individual performance against those targets?
Once these things have been established, it becomes easier to identify areas where improvement is needed. Real efficiency is not measured in terms of cost-savings. Rather, real efficiency in warehouse operations is best measured in terms of flow: having the right products, at the right place, at the right time, and in the right quantities. Having too much inventory while, at the same time, falling down on due-date performance is a sign of huge inefficiencies, regardless of how your cost of operations compare to last year’s numbers.
Ensuring warehouse efficiency depends heavily on the workforce. Implementing a performing training and development program for proper management of warehouse operations can significantly improve productivity and efficiency which eventually leads to cost reduction. For instance: The innovative digital training program offered by Supply Chain Academy is specifically designed to raise standards across your warehouse staff and show them the link between their actions and great customer service. Supply Chain Academy offers you the tools to train your staff quickly and effectively, so they understand how their actions affect the business and the basics of warehouse safety.
With scenario-based video training, staff feels involved while walking their way through the storyline, usually based around a complex work situation which requires to be solved. Scenario-based learning is based on the principles of situated learning theory (Lave & Wenger, 1991), which argues that learning best takes place in the context in which it is going to be used, and situated cognition; the idea that knowledge is best acquired and more fully understood when situated within its context (Kindley, 2002). This allows employees to be more prepared to face future challenging work situations. Through fundamental, intermediate and advanced courses, Supply Chain Academy makes sure that employees grasp the essence of warehousing and apply their knowledge and skills in their day-to-day jobs.
Proper training can go a long way in making sure that your warehouse is working as it should. Managing a warehouse efficiently requires a great deal of effort and time. Competent employees are the key to maintain proper warehouse operations. At the end of the day, warehouse productivity leads to reduced costs and competitive advantage.
Below is a preview of the scenario-based video training provided by Supply Chain Academy. Find more demo videos on our Youtube channel