Another important area to focus on is staff training and warehouse management best practices. Ensuring that all workers know their jobs, are trained on new rules and requirements regularly, and follow box utilization rules makes a big difference.
Companies can also use Warehouse Management Systems to effectively support and optimize their warehouse, including such functions as cartonization of orders to pick and pack. A good WMS is a necessity for larger operations. If you don’t have this type of system in place, you are probably spending more time and money responding and correcting warehouse operations-related problems than you would on a good WMS software package. As with most automation processes, have the ROI run to see what savings any process changes or investments in a WMS will provide you.
The management team within any warehouse is an essential aspect of improving efficiency. Often those in upper management are not closely involved with the warehouse staff or don’t spend much time on the floor. It’s difficult to run an efficient operation without constant training and follow-up.
Too often, if only by default, employees end up running the warehouse processes. The warehouses with the most efficient operations have management staff engaging with the employees and training them on a regular basis, setting goals, and providing useful feedback. As carrier rules, such as dimensional rating, and your business practices change, employees must be retrained on these new rules and practices. “We’ve always done it that way” and “No one told me” are two of the costliest statements I hear in my warehouse visits.
Reduce Warehouse Turnover
The average warehouse worker in the US is making approximately $32,000 per year. Every time one of those people leave, it takes 25% of their wages to hire, train and replace them.
Are you paying your people appropriately? When you’re not paying enough to keep good people, you end up costing the company money over the long-term due to turnover.
In most companies, unexpected absenteeism is expected to be below 2% per year. If you have 20 warehouse employees (20 employees x 260 days/year x .02 percentage unexpected absenteeism = 104 employee days), it’s hard to run a warehouse if 104 times a year your essential staff is unexpectedly out. This is just another reason that hiring good people and paying them well, along with upper management’s encouragement and support for your warehouse team, can have a big payoff.