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As a warehouse manager, it’s up to you to come up with innovative ways to keep operations running efficiently. Ultimately, your goal is to make sure your costs are low, and your customer satisfaction is high. But how do you go about doing that? Read on for answers to four of the most common warehouse manager questions.
1.) What are issues I shouldn’t overlook?
Some challenges can’t be ignored, like figuring out how to meet delivery deadlines and determining how to deal with damaged products. But an often overlooked issue that should get more warehouse managers’ attention is minimizing waste.
Waste can come in many forms, from inventory that just sits on shelves to inefficient operations that increase spending. But how do you even begin to identify warehouse waste?
Use Lean Six Sigma. This methodology, used by top distribution teams, will help you analyze data to find and reduce waste. Your goal is to determine whether procedures you have in place are needed and effective, in an effort to streamline tasks and increase efficiency.
2.) How can I identify problem areas?
Capturing and assessing real-time data will help you spot problems and recognize deficiencies in the warehouse. So how do you obtain that data?
You can use your warehouse management software to run regular reports. The data you collect will allow you to see positive and negative trends, and to react accordingly. You can also gather employee feedback. Train your staff to spot problems, and encourage them to come to you with issues. Last but certainly not least, you can survey your customers. Make an effort to check in weekly, monthly, or quarterly and get feedback on what you can do to improve.
3.) How can I assess opportunities to streamline operations?
It’s easy to fall into a mindset where you think everything is working efficiently. But you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you stop looking for opportunities to make improvements.
The best way to go about this is to analyze the cost of warehouse operations. Research, learn, and understand why certain processes cost what they do. Next, perform a benchmarking exercise to see how your costs stack up to those of similar distribution centers.
Armed with cost analysis insight, you’ll be able to identify potential areas for improvement. Then, you can focus your efforts on streamlining operations in a way that will lower your overhead costs.
4.) What technologies should I consider looking into?
Having a reliable warehouse management system (WMS) is at the top of the list because it’s the most crucial tool needed to run a distribution center effectively. Labor management tools can also be valuable in helping you assess the productivity level of employees. These resources can help you assign tasks to the right workers. To save on overhead, consider investing in process automation tools, such as stretch wrappers and robotic palletizers.
As a warehouse manager, your goal should always be to identify opportunities for improvement, increase efficiency, and save money. Use the tips, tools, and ideas outlined above to thoughtfully assess and optimize your warehouse operations.