Our warehouse in Savannah has faced its challenges just like others, but we've been able to optimize with a few tried and true principles of productivity. If you want to draw out the full potential of your warehouse's performance, some of the best ways to do so can be surprisingly simple. Take the following things into consideration for ways that you can make your warehouse a well-oiled machine of improvement.
Establish and enforce a clear code of conduct
Your warehouse needs to have a clear code of conduct that is not only well-defined, but unconditionally enforced at all times. Whether it's a warehouse in Savannah or Japan, a warehouse lives and dies by the strength of its guiding principles for accountability and responsibility; without that, things can become messy very quickly. The precedent that you set for the value of staying in line with the warehouse's code is going to be integral for inspiring the motivation to actually honor it.
It isn't necessary to be draconian about it, but at the same time, there has to be an all-inclusive consideration for every task to which your code of conduct applies in order to optimize the warehouse workforce down to the core.
Once you develop a solid idea of what the best code of conduct for your warehouse should be, make sure that you have it documented and distributed. Address all of the aspects of the job that the code applies to, from the manner in which inventory is handled to the safety precautions that workers are to follow.
The more ubiquitous the importance of the code is, the more effectively it can actually be implemented. Employees need to have a completely clear perception of what their roles are, what is expected of them, and the significance of respecting those expectations.
Negotiate more agreeable freights cost
It may not seem like a serious financial disaster right away, but unmitigated price hikes in your inbound and outbound freight shipments can be one of the easiest ways to see profits bleed out much more than you'd like them to. By getting a consultant in your corner, you can have better terms negotiated without having to compromise too much on the quality of shipping that you need.
By establishing a mutually beneficial agreement with your freight carrier, you can stay on the same page about pricing and no longer have to worry about an unexpected rearrangement of inbound and outbound freight shipping cost biting into your profits without warning.
Morale and incentives
Workers tend to perform much more productively when they are in a state of high morale and can perceive a motivating incentive for what they are doing. One of the best ways to galvanize your workers with an incentive is to announce that you will reward exemplary productivity with higher pay.
You'll want to have some tact in how you implement the notion of an pay incentives for productivity, but if done effectively, you'll notice that the entire workforce has a breath of new life rush through it. A little extra money is almost always a top motivator.
Not only can you motivate your workers by giving them a better sense of incentive, but directly engaging with them more can be highly effective as well. The workers will have a more positive outlook and sense of respect for leadership in the warehouse if they are able to get face-to-face with them more often, even if it's just for casual conversations. In the absence of a supervisor or manager, most of us will simply imagine what their supervisors do all day, and it’s probably not positive.
Always seek out areas for improvement
While you certainly want to reward workers for performing well when they do, you don't want to become complacent in the absence of failure. The state in which the warehouse is operating relatively smoothly is probably the best opportunity that you have to scan for any areas of performance that can be improved.
You do not want to wait until there is a problem that cannot be ignored to start thinking about ways that certain processes can be made more efficient. While you still have the liberty of thinking of improvement methods without the pressure of an immediate disaster to deal with, consider where the weakest links in the chain are in terms of workflow.
Assess the processes that facilitate the warehouses basic operations, and based on what you see, think of how these things might possibly be expedited or managed more effectively. By constantly evaluating and analyzing the ways that your warehouse performs, you will have a system of capitalizing on your strengths while mitigating weaknesses.
Involve those closest to the potential bottlenecks. Ask how a process can be safer, faster, better, and then do something. Too often supervisors “listen,” but when there is no change, morale can plummet.
There are many more actions you can take to improve warehouse workforce efficiency, but at least there should be someone who is thinking about how to make your employees a team in a facility that they look forward to working in. Savannah Warehousing by Port City Logistics is a good place to see this kind of efficiency in action.