Reducing mistakes in your storage warehouse is likely one of your main priorities as a warehouse manager or supervisor. But considering the equally important need to maintain productivity, it can be difficult to find a balance between these two crucial priorities.
So, how do you encourage a reduction in mistakes while maintaining productivity in your storage warehouse?
It all starts with making simple but effective changes to the way both you and your employees operate. Here are three useful tips that you should take on board to work towards establishing a more efficient and mistake-free warehouse operation.
1. Clearly label key areas of your warehouse
Adding clear and durable labels throughout your warehouse is one of the best (and most cost-effective) means of both reducing mistakes and increasing productivity.
Labels help your employees to easily locate where certain areas and products are within your warehouse. They can also be used to help differentiate your products from one another, allowing for employees to quickly and correctly identify where a given product can be sourced.
Without labels, employees must either rely on either guesswork or their memory to find what they’re looking for. As you know, trying to remember where hundreds or thousands of products are located takes up valuable time and leads to avoidable mistakes.
Whatever goals you have in mind for your warehouse labelling system, you will find a variety of warehouse labels for every purpose available to purchase. For example, there are floor labels, rack labels, returnable container, tote and tray barcode labels, pallet barcode labels, outdoor warehouse signs and labels, and self-adhesive letter and number labels. If there’s a particular type of label you require, custom warehouse signs can provide a bespoke solution to this problem.
2. Create greater accountability with task allocation
The way in which you allocate tasks to your employees has a considerable effect on their productivity, as well as the number of mistakes they make.
Adam Watson, the director of HollywoodMirrors.co.uk and Decorelo.co.uk, shared that, in his experience of organising warehouses, batching tasks in bulk plays an important role in boosting warehouse productivity.
“Batch tasks in bulk so staff don’t get broken off with multitasking,” Watson told Wonolo in their expert round up of logistics and operations experts. “Have set times for each task and be strict with the times.”
Multitasking, after all, isn’t as efficient a method as many people think. In fact, it has been shown to make people less efficient and more stressed out – two factors which most certainly inhibit productivity and cause mistakes.
Moreover, giving employees reasonable but strict deadlines motivates them to work efficiently while creating a sense of accountability surrounding their tasks.
3. Invest in an automated warehouse management system
Technology is revolutionising the way we do business – and the warehouse industry is one which has particularly reaped its rewards. Technological advancements in warehouse equipment have made many fundamental processes run more smoothly, in addition to enabling companies to reduce their costs due to the minimisation of errors that automation brings.
Purchasing technology to assist your warehouse operations may seem like a hefty initial investment – but if you choose the right product, it will pay off tenfold in the long run. For example, finding state-of-the-art warehouse automation solutions (that are free of cables, wires, or stickers) can take the hassle out of everything from sourcing items on shelves, to carrying containers of heavy items. This way, you can help your employees work to the best of their ability by giving them the tools to both increase their productivity and reduce the number of mistakes they make.
From changes in layout and labelling to a general shift in warehouse staff mentality, there are numerous ways you can fine-tune your warehouse to reduce human error and keep the place running like a well-oiled machine. The key, as always, is to pinpoint inefficiencies and put new strategies in place designed to make these impossible, or as close you can get to that, in the future.