What Your Warehouse Operations Audit Must Include

Does your entire warehouse operate with optimum efficiency?

It’s a gargantuan task to undertake and maintain. So, it can be easy to overlook opportunities for gains in efficiency.

Make sure your audit checks these:

1. Investing in High-Value Equipment

The key words here are “high-value.” The opposite of high-value is “cheap” or “good enough.”

Many smaller companies fall into the trap of doing the latter. While this does save short-term capital, it costs you more money in the long run.

You must also measure your cost of operations in terms of productivity. So, when you do purchase equipment, make sure it’s the best you can get. If it’s not high-value, save more capital and get more valuable machinery later. Better to go that route than to buy cheaper machinery that isn’t as efficient and requires more maintenance.

2. Eliminate Movement, Touches, and Paper

Paper is slow and awkward. Movement takes time. The more hands you get on something, the less efficient in becomes.

Workstations should accommodate employees’ need for mobility. Transitioning your operations to digital from paper saves an absurd amount of time. And analyzing all the steps in any process so fewer hands are on it results in great efficiency savings also.

3. Make Your KPIs Abundantly Obvious to Everyone

Whether you put this on a public screen in your warehouse or on every employee’s computer monitor, a constant reminder of your KPIs keeps everyone focused on them. When minds focus on those, greater efficiency results.

Employees who see their actions make a difference feel motivated to do even better. You might even add bonuses like profit sharing or cost-savings sharing to employee checks when they hit certain goals.

4. Ask Your Employees

Who better to help you make efficiency improvements than those who work in the trenches 40 hours per week, and 2000 hours per year?

Not every employee suggestion will be a high-priority opportunity for efficiency gains. However, you will certainly uncover your areas for the greatest gains. And employees who feel listened to respond with greater motivation and engagement. Plus, you might find many more ways to improve efficiency than you first realized.

5. Using Automation and the Right Tools

At this point, automation works best when working with people, not independently from them. That may change in the future, but for now, it’s the way things work.

The “right tools” do not include spreadsheets. Those are deprecated now. More sophisticated software gives you up-to-the-minute data with practically no grunt work. Voice enablement technology makes shipping, returns, and inventory control far more efficient, and it can pay for itself in 2-3 months.

Are you as efficient as you can be?

You only are if you constantly change and never stay comfortable. So hopefully these suggestions stimulate your thinking in the right direction!