Managing warehouse operations includes shipping, purchasing, receiving, controlling inventory, storage and merchandise distribution. Each function has its own processes and is usually guided by technology. Warehouses can range from a few hundred square feet to hundreds of thousands of square feet. There a few tips to take into consideration when it comes to managing a warehouse effectively. If you are involved in managing warehouse employees, warehouse performance evaluations or warehouse safety, the five tips below can be of great help.
Tip 1 - Make Warehouse Safety First Priority
This is achieved by maintaining a neat, clean and well organized warehouse at all times. Ensure that the warehouse floor has no any spillages in terms of water, oil, or other unwanted products that can be potentially hazardous. Ensure packaging materials such as cartons, plastic wraps and other debris are being used away from high traffic areas that may cause unnecessary accidents. Enact a warehouse safety program that suits your needs and make sure that all employees in the warehouse are aware of the program before they begin working. Check local codes and make obligatory required safety equipment for all staff within the warehouse. Potential equipment could include hard hats, safety goggles, steel-toed boots and heavy gloves.
Tip 2 - Properly Manage Warehouse Employees
Make it your goal to interview every new warehouse employee personally if you are a warehouse supervisor. Also ensure the position's direct supervisor is also involved in the entire interview process. Having multiple interviewers can help discern if the applicant is skillful enough for the position. Periodically make time to evaluate the performance of all warehouse employees. Speak to colleges and supervisors. Highlight the strengths of strong performers while also rewarding exceptional performance. Also use performance reviews to identify and address weaknesses and poor behavior. Give suggestions and recommendations for improvement.
Tip 3 - Oversee all Warehouse Operations
You should regularly conduct a visual inspection of all storage areas. Ensure the proper use of designated storage areas for specific types of merchandise. Check pallets for any damage and make sure necessary staff know how to properly load pallets for stability. Maintain regular meeting with the key staff such as managers and supervisors for different departments in the warehouse. Use these meetings to discuss new ideas, improve procedures, identify equipment needing replacement, revise or update budgets, and identify staff for promotions or extraordinary mention. Also use periodic meetings to address open questions and any other relevant issues to make sure everyone is on the same page.
Tip 4 - Review Delivery Schedules
It is also important to coordinate with drivers and trucks which carry merchandise to and from the warehouse. Properly arrange delivery and pick up schedules to ensure availability of sufficient warehouse staff ready to load and unload trucks within the shortest time possible. Also make sure staff are available to check invoices with goods received and check the state or condition of arriving goods. Ensure your staff understand what is to be done with damaged shipments.
Tip 5 - Involve all Warehouse Staff in Improvements
Keep a suggestion box or a running list of potential improvements. All warehouse processes and warehouse design aspects should be open for discussion/change. Get input from all staff on how operations can be run more efficiently. Reward positive suggestions that turn into real changes. You might be surprised where the most helpful suggestions start coming from. Build a culture of continuous improvement.
Image sources: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warehouse_of_Grupo_Martins_in_Cama%C3%A7ari_%28Brazil%29.jpg