The Keys To Warehouse Best Practices
By: Larry Rausch – Vice President of Sales and Marketing
What’s important to remember is there is not one right answer for optimizing warehouse operations. What is best for one company, one warehouse or even one product within a warehouse, is not necessarily best for another. This post is intended to provide you with warehouse best practices tips that can help you leverage your operational efficiencies.
Position the talent you already have
You have very talented people, but you may not have them positioned so they can contribute the most to your operations. Determine your optimal personnel placement and position your people accordingly. This will not only make your operations more efficient, but your people will be more successful, which elevates morale.
Measure. Measure. Measure.
Develop adequate baseline measurements for each process creating benchmarks to measure against as you improve your processes. Remember, you cannot improve what you do not measure. To effectively solve a problem, leaders must first understand the current condition. This can only be accomplished through the use of data and facts.
Use scorecards to guide your operational adjustment
You need to have measures for productivity, cost, quality, service, morale, and safety. You need to balance your operational scorecard so if you improve one measure, it doesn’t come at the expense of another. These are the vital signs of your operation and understanding them is of high importance to the leader. An organization that has 15-20 or more “key” measures lacks clarity and focus. Re-examine your scorecard and make sure you are measuring the vital few.
Knowing your profile is key
You need to understand the mix of products coming in and out of your building, the number of pallets, the product mix, etc. As your profile changes your labor requirements, processes, and systems change as well. A manager who doesn’t know his profile doesn’t know his business.
Standardize your processes
All major repetitive activities need standardized processes so they are consistently repeatable. Most importantly, repeatable processes allow work standards to be created and labor management and planning to occur. Without standard processes, Quality and Safety cannot sustain any improvement.
Inspect what you expect
Leaders should witness for themselves the current state of the operation. Many times, leaders use opinion and feelings to make important decisions. Worse, they make many decisions sitting behind a desk looking at a computer screen or a long spreadsheet. This type of interaction is dangerous to an organization. If a leaders states he/she doesn’t have time to visit the operation, then they should reevaluate their priorities. If people are indeed our greatest asset, shouldn’t we be spending most of our time with them developing their capabilities?
Improve your processes
Once you have standard, repeatable processes in place — as well as baseline measurements for all your processes — you need to continuously evaluate and improve them to be competitive in the marketplace. Your competition isn’t resting on its laurels and you can’t either. Always strive to improve your processes, whether it is through incremental or transformational change.
Onboard the right talent.
Not all talent is the same and not all industries need the same talent. Companies often create one profile for a position and use it for all industry verticals. Develop specific profiles, for specific roles, in each industry vertical (e.g. consumer goods, healthcare, food) and review those profiles regularly — especially as the market changes.
From continually improving your processes to paying attention to on-going oversight, using the above warehouse best practices will help you identify the greatest opportunities within your organization, continuously improve operations and stay competitive in the market place. To speak with one of our technical experts, please call 1-216-229-9300. And thank you for reading our post.