A warehouse must run like a well-oiled machine from the moment a shipment arrives to the moment a product is sent to the customer. Each order goes through a series of steps before it leaves the warehouse, and those steps must occur in an efficient manner. If one of those steps takes longer than it’s supposed to, the entire operation can get thrown off.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of warehousing delays and how a distribution center can prevent them.
Manual Data Entry
Just about every system in a warehouse can be automated. Modern technology has provided a number of improvements in warehouse management technology, allowing for real-time inventory tracking, fast order picking, instant error notifications, and more. If a warehouse is not using this technology to the full extent of its power, workers will spend valuable time manually entering data. This increases the risk of human error and creates a downward spiral of inefficiency.
Here at Overflo, we always work with the latest warehousing technology to speed up order picking and inventory management. Our systems can be incorporated with a merchant’s inventory management system so they can see the same info we see the floor. With complete transparency across the board, orders can go out as quickly and accurately as possible.
Disorganized Order Picking
There are many methods of order picking, and some work better than others. Warehouse operators must adapt their order picking strategies to accommodate the types of orders they receive. The goal is to make it easy for pickers to find products and get them out for packing without taking a ton of extra steps. Time wasted backtracking or hunting for a hard-to-find item will delay the order fulfillment altogether.
The way the inventory is laid out has a big impact order picking. It also determines how easy it is for workers to stock the shelves when new shipments arrive. Frequently picked items should be easy to access, while low-demand items are tucked out of the way. A warehouse may need to re-organize the floor seasonally to accommodate changes in product demands. The best way to do this is to be proactive with planning – catch inefficiencies before they come up.
Congested Forklift Paths
Forklifts can improve the efficiency of many warehousing operations, but only if those machines are able to move around quickly. If the aisles are too narrow or the corners are too tight, forklift operators will spend a lot of extra time just trying to move their vehicles around. Employees must be trained to keep the aisles clear at all times and to watch out for forklifts as they come. Similarly, forklifts should be equipped with lights, horns and other warning devices to let workers know that they are in the area. The forklifts should get the right of way in most interactions so they can swiftly move to their next task.
If employees are not happy, they are not going to want to do their jobs. This causes inefficiency throughout the warehouse, while will further decrease morale levels. Department managers should create a positive environment for employees and reward those who go above and beyond their work requirements. A warehouse could use incentives to encourage employees to work more efficiently. With good, motivated leaders running the team, the warehouse can function better as a unit.
For more information about warehousing, Contact Overflo at 1-800-626-0616