The warehouse industry is continuing its monumental climb. As of month’s end in July, there was an all-time high of 1.44 million workers in the warehouse and storage space in the United States. As the industry continues to swell, so does the need for pick and pack warehouse operations to be running as smoothly and systematically as possible.
Here are our top four picks for the best ways to improve your warehousing workflow.
Design for Efficiency
One of the easiest ways to improve the time it takes to pack orders is to reimagine the warehouse’s organization and design.
Over time, warehouse staff will notice trends regarding which items are the most and least popular, allowing them to arrange their inventory accordingly. Placing the most ordered items near the packing and shipping stations means less time spent running through the warehouse retrieving them. Placing items that are commonly ordered near one another can also save time. Whether or not they are close to the shipping station, it will prevent pickers from having to go to multiple different areas of the warehouse each time. Reducing the time spent travelling around the warehouse by developing a smart layout can make a world of difference for your bottom line.
Pick the Right Method
With the popularity of warehousing increasing, different operational methods have emerged that can be applied depending on the needs of the company and the products being packaged. While there are widely used methods that virtually all warehouses adopt in some capacity, there are others that work more efficiently based on different circumstances. Testing out a few different methods and finding the one that works could shave hours off your week.
Some common methods include:
- Discrete order picking: picking one order at a time; ideal for operations that have a single scheduling window for picking
- Batch picking: packing multiple orders that include the same item all at once; reduces travel time but works better for small orders
- Zone picking: having one worker assigned to a specific zone of the warehouse, the order passing through each necessary zone
Be a Stickler for the Details
Perhaps the one action that all warehouses (and businesses in general) strive to avoid is mistakes. Shipping errors that contain the wrong items can result in unnecessary costs and upset customers – two things that need to be avoided in today’s hyper-competitive landscape.
Ensure that inventory is always up to date to avoid any availability issues, especially if your operation relies on online ordering (which, due to the boom in ecommerce, is likely). Consider using a pick and pack checklist that all workers need to complete before sending out every order, and at the very least double check every order before marking it ready to send.
Hiring employees with demonstrated attention to detail and organization skills can help reduce the likelihood of error.
Hire the Right Staff
The key component to any well-oiled machine? A superstar team! Having qualified, hardworking and fast-learning professionals working at all levels of your warehouse operation is bound to ensure an efficient pick and pack process. When everyone knows exactly what is expected of them and works symbiotically with one another, a smooth process will become second nature.
If you are not sure where to find professionals you can count on, working with a staffing agency could be your answer. Staffing agencies have deep talent pools brimming with ready-to-work candidates who have been vetted in terms of experience and skills, so you know that your needs are in good hands.
Select Staff has over four decades experience of bringing deserving candidates together with businesses across Texas. Contact us today to learn how we can help.