Improve Warehouse Performance Without Increasing Staff

Distribution inventory levels are rising, but warehouse staffing remains low. Don't let a small warehouse staff affect your inventory performance!

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    Is your reduced warehouse staff struggling to keep up as inventory levels rise?  If so, it could lead to costly mistakes and angry customers – affecting your bottom line.

    Recently, an article in Industry Supply Magazine suggested 9 ways to keep up with rising inventory levels without adding to your staff:

    1.  Keep the warehouse environment clean and orderly to reduce the possibility of mistakes and lower productivity.  Have your warehouse manager monitor the state of the warehouse on a monthly basis and hold staff accountable for keeping it clean and making sure everything is in its designated place.
    2. Consider changing your storage pattern to ensure that you are maximizing, not only current item velocities, but future velocities.  Make sure that the cost you will incur by moving an item will be justified by the improved productivity and accuracy of having the item in a new location.
    3. Have your receiving staff check actual items received, instead of just checking the packing receipt against the PO.  This will help prevent you from delivering the wrong items/quantities to your customers.
    4. Ensure that items are put away quickly and correctly so that when an item appears in your warehouse system as “available to pick,” the picker can find it, in its full quantity.   If you can’t speed up the “put away” process, get your computer system to highlight (on a list or display) those items for which customers are waiting or for which the quantity on hand is below the reorder point or minimum so that pickers can easily see this information before they go to retrieve items from the warehouse.
    5. Make sure that your picking staff is well educated on the items in your inventory.  Also, continue to remind picking staff that they should be picking the computer-determined “quantity to pick” rather than the quantity ordered if they differ.
    6. Don’t assume that the quantities being packed/staged are the same as those shown on the corresponding pick ticket or packing list.  Remind packing staff (especially if they are also your picking staff) that before they shrink wrap or load, they should count the quantities being packed/staged, and verify them against the packing list (or pick ticket if a packing list is not involved).
    7. Doing a full item-level verification for each order, on the truck that will deliver the order being verified, will help ensure that every item on each order has been loaded.  If there isn’t time for a full verification, a spot-check will help.
    8. If there is a counting discrepancy, make sure you examine the inventory transaction history and look for “missing” items in the warehouse before you change the quantity on hand in the system.
    9. Have warehouse managers engage their staffs in identifying mistakes and problems as well as developing solutions.

    Find out how a restaurant equipment distributor improved their warehouse performance without increasing their staff by reading their case study here.

    Contact Socius to learn more about how you can improve your warehouse without adding cost or staff.