Implementing a few changes within your warehouse can effectively and economically enhance labor performance.  Here are a few suggestions on how to achieve a shift in warehouse culture while also improving warehouse employee performance, boosting morale and engagement.

1. Frequently Recognize Well Done Jobs

Teamwork and recognition are two essential elements that highly boost labor performance in any type of warehouse.  Recognition can be done in the simplest verbal manner and does not necessarily require bonus checks or trophies.  A few companies use card systems to instantaneously take note of any worker for future recognition.   Putting an effective recognition program into action, alongside incentive plans, can stimulate performance and morale.

2. Make Teamwork a Critical Rule

Introduce a cultural shift form old-school, autocratic and top down management to one that maximizes the creativity and engagement of your employees.  Encourage and empower staff to improve processes, equipment and procedures in their daily tasks.  An environment that promotes open communication does well to utilize new ideas which augments traditional experience and status quo.  This results in greater commitment as team members feel a sense of pride and ownership in newly implemented processes.

3. Utilize Tools to Create Opportunities for Improvement

A value stream mapping is a method used to establish a clear picture of a product and information flow.  It clearly articulates graphically both current and future states in such a way that all members can easily understand.  The advantage of utilizing a value stream map is its ability to provide staff with an overview of all the activities that take place in the warehouse.  It then allows any warehouse staff member to propose improvements in any section or part of the warehouse.  Showcasing the map in the warehouse enables staff to identify and brainstorm improvements which can then be submitted for discussion.

4. Institute a Visual Dashboard

Instituting status-at-a-glance boards is another method for improving warehouse staff performance.  As fans at a sporting event are able to quickly look up and immediately see the score at a Game, associates in a warehouse should also be able to quickly visualize the happenings on the warehouse floor.  When the scorecards or dashboards are clear and consistent, staff members are able to easily monitor relevant tasks and effectively participate in overall warehouse operations.  Positioning of the status boards should be done in easy to view locations, such as close to the docks or above the main warehouse floor.  The goal is to keep track of how warehouse activities are progressing in real time without having to look in your computer.

5. Having a Level Workload

Warehouse operations are lightened when staff have balanced workloads and each associate’s time and abilities are optimized.  As a manager you should maintain an up-to-date cross-training matrix to keep close track of the team’s progress and their evolving set of skills.  Cross training staff can be critical in ensuring balanced workloads when demand is high.