Things to do to improve warehouse productivity

warehouse 4Business may be slow now but before you know it you’ll be jammed again. Want to get more done with the folks you have?  Things to consider:

  1. Keep the lifts in good repair
  2. Batteries getting old?
  3. Stagger shift starts – replenish forward picking before the first wave
  4. Reslot often – move the A items closer to the dock
  5. Not enough space, then make more – get to 10% empty forwards and 20% empty reserves
  6. Qualify and prioritize the inbound freight – need the trailer now, or later?
  7. Qualify the product going into reserve
  8. Get the inbound current and under control before tackling pick, pack, ship
  9. Fix any and all inventory inaccuracy root causes
  10. Have fresh eyes look at the problem – select different supervisors or warehouse workers to look at other areas
  11. Eliminate touches – live load, don’t pick and stage
  12. Minimize travel – never travel empty – put one away, pick one to ship
  13. Right size the forwards, so inbound doesn’t need to go into reserve
  14. Align the picking method for each product with its order pattern
  15. Can the WMS round up order quantities to an easily picked unit or measure?
  16. Engage the troops
  17. Every DC worker makes thousands of decisions each day; understand and guide discretionary decision-making
  18. Solve the workforce’s boredom problem
  19. Most supervisors spend less than 5% of their time on motivating employees, double that and double productivity
  20. Inbound congestion means waste and extra touches
  21. Housekeeping
  22. Address the annoyances that demotivate
  23. Keep inbound under control and putaway as timely as possible
  24. Recalculate Safety Stock
  25. Update leadtimes
  26. Bust the inbound batch sizes
  27. Increase inbound visibility, smooth the spikes if you can
  28. Publish metrics for all to see and encourage friendly competition between zones, departments, facilities
  29. Create a ‘dog pound’ and move slow movers out of the way
  30. Study and fight outbound congestion
  31. Adjust the number of pick zones; fewer the better
  32. Synchronize order filling across all zones
  33. Keep current on replenishment
  34. Never run out of supplies (totes, pallets, carts, tape)
  35. Adjust the organization chart
  36. Constantly monitor outbound flow; rebalance pick, pack, and loading
  37. Reduce the number of job classifications by cross training and rotation
  38. Use inbound teams and eliminate staging areas: unload, receive and put away with one touch not two or three
  39. Brainstorm and then brainstorm some more
  40. Be careful what you measure
  41. If you are in a meltdown, get help
  42. Consider postal pick location address scheme; going down an aisle picking on left and right instead of down one side and coming back the other


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