Generally speaking, a more productive warehouse is a more profitable one.
Here are a few ways to drive income up without increasing overhead too terribly much.
1. Improve the morale of your employees
This is all too easy to dismiss, especially if there is a layer or two of management between you and them. Productivity is directly linked to morale, and there are many ways to improve both without incurring undue expense. That being said, the number one factor you control is employee compensation. Keeping your wages at, or a bit above industry standards will stop a lot of grumbling and keep things moving. Make sure to recognise exceptional employees with raises or other incentives.
2. Improve the physical comfort of your employees
They’re tough, sure, and they don’t need coddling. Still, a heated warehouse improves morale and cuts down on the number of extra tea breaks as well. Soft flooring can reduce injury to feet and ankles, and reduce noise as well. A decent break area with even a small kitchen is a must. Even installing a radio in the work area can reduce stress, and raise morale, overall reducing illness and down time.
3. Improve the layout of your warehouse
An inefficient warehouse layout can slow operations down even more than grumbly employees, and unlike them, once you fix it, it generally stays fixed. Of course, efficiency is process-dependent, so you should review the layout every time you make substantial changes in the type of goods you store or the way you process them. Generally, you’ll want to place similar items together. Also, consider an item’s lifecycle in the warehouse, and try to avoid having to move it from pillar to post if you can.
4. Batch your orders if possible, but only if this does not slow critical response times
A batch or cluster order picking system will save time and get more done with less backward and forward, but will delay the first orders of a batch until the batch is full. If the extra time doesn’t cost you anything, try batching.
5. Review your tech
It seems like there is a new warehouse technology every two weeks these days, and you don’t want to jump on every band wagon. Still, try to collect and review all of the recent warehousing technology advancements at least once a year. The very thing you need may have just been put into production.