The Secret of Warehouse Productivity
What is the secret of warehouse productivity? What do efficient, profitable businesses know about warehouse management and productivity that you don’t?
You may think your business runs a tight ship. You’ve got your inventory under control, and your shipping and receiving areas are up to date. You’ve implemented new barcoding technology that integrates with your ERP. That’s great, and we applaud those steps.
But there’s more to warehouse productivity than a clean return area and an up-to-date receiving platform. The key lies within the people who work in your warehouse.
People Are Your Greatest Workplace Asset
Although you may think that technology is your greatest asset, it’s actually the people who work for your company who provide the highest value. Think about it: without the right people in the right positions, your company will lose productivity.
Artificial intelligence (AI) promises thinking machines that learn as they go, and we are seeing the infancy of this new form of technology in many industries. “Thinking” machines, machine learning, and the Internet of Thing (IoT) provide new and innovative ways to improve processes, monitor the supply chain, and improve warehouse productivity.
But who is behind every technology? People—smart, thinking people who know the industry and who understand how to run a warehouse, a manufacturing plant, and a business.
It’s the people behind the scenes who are your company’s greatest asset.
Five Steps to Improve Warehouse Productivity
To improve warehouse productivity, then, focus on your people first and processes second. By focusing first on the people, you’ll naturally build a great team who will then help you enhance processes and productivity.
- Always be recruiting: Even if you do not currently have openings, always be on the lookout for top talent. Get to know people in your industry through social media channels, especially business-specific channels such as LinkedIn and groups devoted to common business interests. Read trade journals and note who makes the news regularly. Never stop looking for the best and brightest people to add to your staff.
- Hire outside of the industry: This goes against the grain, but too often manufacturers and warehouse owners only look at people whose resumes mirror their own. Think outside the warehouse and look for bright people with the right skills who may not necessarily have worked in your industry. It’s easy for bright people to learn the nuances of a new industry. If they have the right skills, they can apply them to an unfamiliar industry within weeks or months of hiring.
- Mentor newcomers: Pair new employees with senior staff who can teach them not just how to do their jobs but why it’s important to do it a certain way. Senior staff can also offer insight, guidance, and feedback to new employees that help them onboard faster and improve their skills quickly.
- Offer additional training: Many companies offer training to new hires but fail to provide advanced training or refresher courses. Even senior staff benefit from refreshers on warehouse technology, proper inventory techniques, and more. Look for ways to incorporate training into quarterly or monthly meetings.
- Listen to suggestions: Lastly, listen to the people you hire. The people working in your warehouse are the ones who should be consulted about warehouse productivity enhancements and improvements. These are the people who are working with the systems, technology, and products. They know where the gaps are and how to fix them but may not know who to talk to in order to make improvements. Establish methods by which employees can share feedback, insights, and ideas easily with one another and with senior staff. It’s only by listening that you can improve your business.
Success depends on the people running your business. With manufacturing, warehouse management, and e-commerce all vying for the best and brightest, creating a culture of respect for your employees and encouraging productivity enhancements are smart ideas to improve your business and remain competitive.
Mindover Software provides warehouse productivity software, ERP, and other systems for manufacturing, warehouse management, and more. Please contact us today for more information or call 512-990-3994.