Top 10 Best Practices that You Can Implement in Your Distribution Center Tomorrow with No System Changes and Very Little Process Changes
Implementing best practices in your warehouse is the key in increasing the throughput and productivity. They are listed below.
1. Assign Ownership of Aisles to Operators So They Keep their Aisles Clean with Pride
Managing the operator’s aisle pristine and in an orderly way is necessary to increase the picking in the warehouse. When operators are happy and proud of the work they do – they do even better. To make them proud of the work they do install a display in every aisle saying “This isle is maintained with pride by – “operator name”.
2. Implement Daily Cycle Counts
Daily Cycle Count programs are a great way to ensure you maintain inventory accuracy throughout the year, and many companies employ a combination of daily cycle-counting their key products and count all products during their 100% physical inventory. The goal of cycle counting is to accurately count your inventory without spending too much time on counting. Picking accuracy and picking efficiency will increase after implementation of daily cycle counting program in your warehouse.
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Capture the conditions of the loads you ship and share it with your customer in the cloud. Take pictures of every product, pallet, and truck along with the packaging conditions such as shrink wrapping, addition of dunnage bags etc., and win the trust of your customers.
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3. Proactive Replenishments in Your Second Shift or Third Shift
Replenishment involves moving inventory from reserve location to active location so that it may be picked, packed and shipped. In the case of the item can’t be located quickly, or there is an error in finding or utilizing it, this small mistake can cause the entire workflow to break down. By proactively doing replenishments you always keep inventory in your active location which means your pickers don’t have to wait and picking happens faster and in an efficient manner. Setting up a dedicated replenishment team with proactive tactics as listed in this article, you can avoid slowdowns in the picking process.
4. Maintain Single SKU Location
SKU management is the cornerstone of any good inventory management, as they allow you to effortlessly track your inventory right down to individual variants of every product (color, size, etc.). Assigning a dedicated location for each SKU in your Distribution Centre will help in quick and accurate fulfillment of orders. Maintaining one dedicated bin location for every single SKU will increase the picking speed and eliminates mispicks. Even if you cannot have dedicated locations for all the SKUs in your warehouse at least maintain dedicated locations for A velocity SKUs. This technique applied in your warehouse to at least ‘A’ velocity SKU’s improves picking efficiency and reduces errors.
5. Save on Your Supply Chain Chargebacks and Freight Claims
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6. Keep Bin Locations Clean and Organized
Allocating an hour or two per day, to clean warehouse bin locations and also to nicely organize and stack the items in bin locations can lead to improvement in your warehouse efficiency. Clean and nicely organized warehouse bin locations mean employees can move around more quickly and get things such as counting and picking easier and faster. Quick cleaning on a daily basis enables your operation and every shift to be more productive and it is not very expensive to keep your bin locations cleans, but the benefits are immense.
7. Document Operator Travel Time
As a warehouse manager, you are always challenged to “do more with less”. Most attempt to meet this challenge by finding ways to labor costs. Many have implemented labor management systems to measure associates’ productive work, and some have gone a step further by adding incentive-based pay systems to entice higher productivity levels.
Only a few have spent the time to understand and manage a key component of labor cost: unproductive walks, or travel time. Measuring unproductive walks through a pedometer provides insight on the number of steps and the travel time that operators spend on which further helps with determining bottlenecks in the distribution center process flow. This program also reduces the idle time of each operator in the long run.
8. Perform Random Cycle Count Audits
Cycle-counting is an efficient and cost-effective way to ensure the ongoing accuracy of your inventory. Why wait until the end of the year to find out if your inventory counts are accurate when you can maintain precise inventory counts and valuations with random cycle count audits?
Keep in mind, the longer you wait, the more errors you’re likely to find and the longer it will take to resolve those errors. Random cycle count audits will ensure that your inventory count is accurately managed throughout the year, leading to greater throughput and more reliable reporting year-round.
9. Sensors, Lights and Operator Flow
Ensure sufficient lighting for operators, this helps in increasing productivity, and picking accuracy as they have clear view of the barcodes. Auto Illumination of zones where the operator travels, using light and motion sensors is essential in enhancing warehouse operations efficiency and also helps in avoiding accidents. The second part is to gain warehouse productivity by making sure the flow of operators is clear and simple.
10. Measure All of the Activities
What you cannot measure you cannot manage. For example, if you assigned an operator to perform cycle-counting or any other warehouse function for eg. sort boxes or move pallets it is important to measure them, so everybody working in the warehouse is held accountable.
Without measuring you will not be able to manage the activities they perform and find ways to increase the efficiency of operation.
November 5, 2020