Small Business Brief


7 Ways to Make Your Warehouse Process More Efficient

An organized and efficient warehouse process is a critical element of business success. These seven tips will help you streamline your process, improve productivity, and increase your bottom line.

Has your workhouse process felt a bit sluggish lately? Do you feel like your workers aren’t as productive as you’d like them to be?

There’s always a lot going on in a warehouse, and as a business owner, you want to make sure it all flows properly.

How efficient is your setup? What could be improved?

You likely ask yourself these questions often. If you don’t, you should.

Luckily, some simple changes can really enhance your warehouse process. Read on for seven ways you can make your process more efficient.

1. Use Incentives

People are more likely to work hard when they feel like there’s adequate incentive, so make sure you’re paying your workers fairly.

If you pay your workers too little they may not feel like their positions are valued. When you pay them a higher wage, they’ll see that their role is important. You’ll be putting more out in regards to wages, but you’ll get more of an output from workers.

Starting with pick and pack is a great idea, but don’t stop there. Provide incentives for every worker who’s a part of your warehouse process. Don’t only focus on one group.

If your workers are already doing a great job, make sure you reward them. This will encourage them to do even better.

2. Educate Your Managers

Managers play a big role in the efficiency and workflow of your warehouse. You need your managers to be effective and at the top of their game.

To give your managers a leg up, make sure they’re properly educated in every aspect of the warehouse.

Look at what each manager individually needs. What knowledge are they missing? What training would help them be more effective?

Do they understand the company as well as the merchandise and customers?

Whether you provide training materials online or in person, your managers will benefit from them. In turn, they’ll be better equipped to help other workers be more efficient.

Don’t just train managers in the ins and outs of the warehouse or business. Make sure you provide leadership training too. Someone may have made their way up the chain, but that doesn’t mean leadership skills come naturally to them.

Managers trained in leadership will be more efficient and more able to communicate well with other workers.

3. Review Current Efficiency

It’s hard to improve on something if you don’t know how it’s currently doing. How often do you assess the efficiency of your warehouse operations? If you haven’t done it in a while, you need to do it now.

How are your warehouse workers using resources? Could they be used better? What’s your flow like?

Look for weak spots and find ways to improve them. One inefficient part of a process can make others inefficient as well.

If you have systems that are working well, keep them in place. Unless you know there’s something that can make them even better. Spend more time on weak points until you have an entire system that works efficiently.

Once you know how efficiently your system is running, provide feedback to employees.

Employees who are invested in the company and their job will want to know how things are going and how they can improve.

4. Improve Your Layout

While obvious, this element of your warehouse process is extremely important. Your warehouse efficiency is directly affected by your warehouse flow.

Look at how your warehouse is arranged. Does the layout make sense?

Go through each process in your mind. Does the layout promote fluidity or does it break up efficiency?

The layout of your warehouse should match the step process required for whatever your workers are doing. Does it?

Does each step flow into the next? Or do you have people crossing the room to get to the next thing?

If you want an efficient warehouse, you’ve got to have an organized warehouse. Make sure it’s easy to navigate and that it makes sense to your workers.

As you assess the layout, also look for safety hazards. The layout should promote a safe environment and shouldn’t put anyone in harm’s way.

5. Improve Inventory Handling

When looking to improve efficiency you shouldn’t only be looking at the big picture. Take the time to look at each element of your workhouse process.

Whether your workers are picking, packing, bagging, boxing, or piecing items together, they should be efficient.

Make sure inventory is moved and worked with as efficiently as possible. Then make sure every other element of the process is going well too.

Integrating an up-to-date barcode system can help with this. To learn more about the benefits of barcode technology, check out Intermax.

6. Assess Stock Daily to Limit Loss

How often do you assess the stock that’s sitting in your warehouse? Do you know when the products on each pallet expire?

If you don’t know the expiration dates of your stored product, you’ve got a problem. You’ll end up wasting product, which hinders your efficiency.

Implement a system that keeps tracks of stock and assesses it every single day. Know what stock is oldest and what is newest.

As you track, you’ll be able to lower losses from expired stock and you’ll have a better idea of what stock needs to go when and where.

7. Constantly Assess Your Process

Once you’ve found a successful warehouse process, that isn’t the end of the game. Technology and merchandise constantly change, so be on the lookout for what you can do better.

Even if you just implemented a new plan, keep your eye out for areas where you can improve.

You want to stay on top of your game. Keep a keen eye on productivity and efficiency and be aware of how they may be even better.

You shouldn’t be constantly changing things if you want your workers to be efficient. But do assess your warehouse process regularly so you can spot areas for improvement before they become problems.

The Most Efficient Warehouse Process

To some extent, the best warehouse process will depend on your unique setup, but these tips should get you off to a good start.

Make sure every element of your warehouse is working well for the most efficient overall process. Train and incentivize managers and workers, organize intelligently, and constantly assess your progress and production.

As you keep these things in mind you’ll be on your way to a more productive, more efficient warehouse process.

Are you looking to learn even more great tips for your small business? Head to our website to check out our other articles.