For successful warehouse operations, it’s essential that employees follow all proper systems and procedures. Workflow issues are bound to arise in any setting and being proactive in your planning is the best way of preventing any bottlenecks. Here are a few tips to keep your workflow running smoothly:
The ideal warehouse supervisor-to-employee ratio is one supervisor responsible for overseeing between 12 and 15 employees. Improper staffing levels will result in a lag in workflow processes across the warehouse. For example, if your inbound departments are short-staffed, this will trickle down to the end of your supply chain, causing delayed shipping and goods receipt. Moreover, when there are too many employees to be handled by few supervisors, there is increased stress and workload causing high error rates. When the supervisor-to-employee ratio is adequate, workers can be supervised properly and work is done efficiently.
Manage Your Operating Hours
Usually, warehouse operating hours and staffing are adjusted for seasonal fluctuations and other industry factors. To solve workflow issues, warehouses have to decide the optimum level of working days and hours along with the nature of staffing. Instead of increasing days and hours (and overtime pay) in order for your regular workers to process an increase in workflow, you may want to consider hiring temporary staff. This is a great solution for high-volume periods, as it provides the coverage you need for the increased workload, without the long-term overhead costs. When workflow returns to normal, you can easily scale back down to a smaller crew. Properly managing operating hours of a warehouse and staffing during different activity volumes has a very big effect on the workflow as well as on the incurred expenses.
Maintain an Organized Workspace
Keep stock, supplies, equipment and staff organized for a smoother workflow. There should be proper mechanisms in place for checking products upon receipt, filtering defected goods, cleaning up liquid spills or waste, controlling temperature settings, monitoring supply levels, and maintaining the entire floor space. When these responsibilities are communicated to the workers, it leads to successful completion of work on the floor.
Streamline the Process
Ease of process has an enormous effect on the workflow in the warehouse. Complex procedures and processes can be ambiguous and baffling, resulting in a higher chance of mistakes and safety incidents, as well as major workflow issues. When you have a simple, outlined process and easy workflow layout, warehouse tasks such as picking, receiving, storing, packing and loading can be performed in a timely, accurate manner. It’s essential to engage in worker training-sessions so that they are familiar with the various workflow processes.
Planning and organization are essential to establishing a smooth, efficient workflow. Following these few simple steps will help keep production moving – and avoid costly errors and delays.