Managing a warehouse is a lot more difficult than most people realize. The job goes beyond receiving, storing, and shipping materials. An effective warehouse manager might make the job seem easy, but a lot goes into maintaining a smooth operation. Experience is usually the best teacher, but here are five things every modern warehouse manager should know:
1. Safety Comes First
An unsafe work environment could end up damaging something irreplaceable: a human being. It isn’t worth it to cut corners and risk the health of employees. A warehouse manager should constantly be on the lookout for dangerous situations, like uneven flooring or out of date equipment. It is not unheard of for employees to use makeshift platforms to reach something from a high shelf. Make sure your employees know that taking a minute to locate a ladder is always the best option.
It would be smart for every manager to have someone inspect his/her warehouse on a regular basis. That way, issues can be fixed before they turn into safety concerns.
2. Cleanliness Can Pay Dividends
If a warehouse has a cleaning schedule, all employees will be involved in maintaining the building. Some employees might be more willing cleaners than others, so a schedule will keep everything fair. Not only will the warehouse look better, but things will be so much easier to find. Things can become lost when clutter accumulates; buying more of something only to find out later that it was in another part of the warehouse should never happen.
3. The Importance of Increased Productivity & Visibility
The productivity of a warehouse hinges on the way the inventory is setup. Even if everything is organized, a bad setup can hurt the efficiency of an entire warehouse. A manager should know to keep the most common/divopular products as close to the shipping area as possible. If a popular item is located far from shipping, or high on a shelf, too much time will be spent retrieving it.
Mobile handheld computers are vital to improve productivity and visibility. Employees aren’t tied to a desk and can view critical data while on the warehouse floor or in the yard – in real time. Barcode scanners can significantly reduce user errors by decreasing keystrokes and eliminating mounds of paper work. The devices can also work in conjunction with your warehouse management system to gain a better outlook of your operations and guide you to make improvements if needed.
4. Regular Checkups Save Time
Broken equipment can really slow a warehouse down. Finding out something is broken right when you need it is never a good feeling. Performing regular checkups on important tools and equipment might take a few extra minutes here and there, but those checkups can save a lot of time later. These checkups will allow you to know when something is going to need to be replaced, or when you will need to order more of something. Staying on top of those things can really increase productivity and eliminate downtime.
5. Communication is Vital
Warehouse managers have a lot to worry about, but employees should always come first. A manager who regularly interacts with employees will have a better command over his/her workplace. It’s the job of the manager to ensure that everyone is on the same page. If workers don’t know what is expected of them, there will be an inevitable breakdown in productivity, and everyone will have to work extra hard to regain lost ground.
Every warehouse manager will have different perspectives on how to run a workplace, but they will all agree that efficiency is extremely important. There are plenty of ways to build a productive warehouse, but these five promote a safe, clean, and connected environment.