Any business that runs a warehouse or facility knows the importance of proper and efficient handling of materials and goods. From the movement, storage, protection, to the overall management, operators must ensure that the materials and products are controlled safely. This requires warehouse owners to create and implement a proper material handling protocol.
With such protocol in place, businesses cannot only move or ship out products safely. They can also cut costs on warehouse operations by reducing product damages and reducing the time spent on transporting the goods. If your facility is currently struggling with material handling, here are some smart strategies to make it more efficient.
Check your current operations
Reviewing your current operations is the first step to improving the efficiency of your material handling procedures. To better understand your facility workflow, audit your operations, including receiving orders, loading and unloading, and movement of materials in the warehouse.
You should also have records of the overall size and weight of the unit, as well as the unit load. These details can help you create a more accurate list of key performance indicators (KPIs). When making changes to your processes, concentrate on the primary KPIs for measuring success. These include the time for order fulfillment, loading and unloading, customer satisfaction levels, and overall output.
Develop a customer service policy
Apart from looking into your existing operations, it would be best if you also considered your commitment to your customers. Creating a clear customer service policy can give you a better insight into what adjustments are needed for the handling process, storage, and shipment. The common factors for measuring a perfect order include complete labeling and documentation, on-time delivery, and proper product handling. Your facility can provide a higher level of service if you have more accurate internal processes. However, be sure to opt for a policy that is realistic and achievable for your company.
Review equipment and technology
The application of new technologies is standard practice for any sector that has manufacturing or warehousing operations. Among the commonly used material handling equipment for many facilities today is collaborative robots or cobots. Such technology can improve the safety within the facility by handling more hazardous tasks that can cause accidents for the workers and the goods. Others benefits of these machines include greater precision in logistics, lower operating costs, improved productivity, and better scalability and flexibility for installation.
There’s also vehicle-mounted technology, which is also helpful for increasing productivity and efficiency within the warehouse. Equipped industrial vehicles can provide proper tracking of manpower and materials movement. You can also reduce worker fatigue by using vertical carousels. Check your current material handling technologies and make the necessary upgrades.
Gather the vital data
Running a warehouse requires proper documentation of everything that moves within the facility. You can improve the efficiency of your material handling procedures by knowing the right data or numbers. You can start by checking the work hours and check what types of workflows you can try. You should also have records of all the items that are touched and moved within the facility to pinpoint oversight or other human errors. To better monitor the movement, every material should be properly labeled. This makes everything easily accessible and easy to locate.
Prioritize facility maintenance
Boosting material handling efficiency involves maintaining an organized storage facility or warehouse. This provides clear pathways and aisles for easy flow of materials and products, preventing transportation delays within and around your warehouse. Proper facility maintenance also promotes the health and safety of employees by preventing workplace accidents. Your workers can walk around the facility without hurting themselves. Make sure to also put up product labels and signage for easier and faster tracking.
Focus on storage units
Effective storage units play a major role in the material handling process. Avoid letting items sit in your industrial area for ages. Everything should be ready to transport or use whenever needed. You can start by redoing your inventory list and creating a warehouse map for quick location and access to materials and products. Maps are useful for seasonal and new workers with less experience in the warehouse. Furthermore, don’t forget to review your facility’s storage capacity. If you are using traditional shelving and rack in your facility, ensure they are evenly spaced out.
A good business understands that producing quality products isn’t enough to hold a position in the market. Proper movement, storage, and transport also play a huge role in running a successful operation. Focus on improving your material handling procedure, and you won’t just earn the trust of your target clients or customers but also the entire industry you’re in.