Warehouse productivity is critical to responding to recent consumer buying trends, like online shopping and consumer demand for rapid delivery. Optimizing routine processes is an important way to improve efficiencies in the warehouse. Using mobile weighing technologies to reduce truck time at the dock can have one of the greatest effects on a company’s key performance indicators (KPIs).
Seven ways to increase warehouse productivity
Scale products play a huge role in increasing productivity. For example, mobile forklift scales increase the on-time delivery percentage and number of orders per hour, while counting scales improve order accuracy percentage and increase the lines picked. Pallet jack scales reduce the cost per order. All in all, the right scale products help operators achieve overall equipment efficiencies. The scale products can reduce overtime hours and cost-per-unit (CPU), and improve the units-per-hour (UPH). Labor utilization in general can be greatly improved.
Here are seven tips for increasing warehouse productivity:
- To reduce the cost of doing business, purchase equipment that can be utilized in multiple areas with a variety of processes.
- Reduce unnecessary motion and travel to reduce cycle times. Equipment that allows operators to collect information quickly without unnecessary motion or travel will improve the process.
- Look for methods and equipment that reduce human interpretation. Scanning of barcodes, sharing information over the network, and combining information from several processes are ways to improve.
- Improve staff training. Technology can improve any organization if the people are properly trained to the process and equipment operation. Train, train, and train again, to get the best return on one of your biggest investments — people.
- Ensure good communication. Communication is critical in human interaction. It is also vitally important in processing information within the warehouse environment. Equipment that shares mission critical data through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi quickly shares information with billing and tracking systems and will improve warehouse operations.
- Keep an eye on new procedures or technologies. Always look to implement new procedures and look to modern technologies – or different ways of applying old ones – to save both time and effort in daily warehouse operations.
- Measure performance. Make sure operations capture and manage critical KPIs. Understand and track critical productivity and costs on shipped orders — cost per box and cost per line shipped. It is essential to measure and understand baseline information to be able to assess and put in place cost reduction measures. Remember, you cannot improve if you do not measure!
There is a clear relationship between warehouse productivity and profit
Here’s a theoretical example of a medium size company with 40,000 pallet movements a year in which 12,400 pallet movements require weighing. By using the Fairbanks BlueLine WF Series fork scale on their forklifts they would be able to save 3 minutes per weighment compared to moving the load to a typical floor scale location. That small per weighment improvement could save about 37,200 minutes, or 620 man-hours in one year. Using an average warehouse rate of $35 per hour, the company would achieve a yearly cost savings of $21,700 ($1,808 per month). The profitability gain would be more than $13,000 per year, even after factoring in the cost of the mobile fork scale as well as maintenance costs.
If you are looking to complete tasks more quickly to improve efficiency and productivity in a warehouse, consider incorporating a mobile weighing device into forklifts.