If your business deals with physical products, warehouse productivity is a top-of-mind concern. Today’s fast-paced and highly competitive marketplace demands that businesses optimize the efficiency of their warehouse operations in order to remain profitable and relevant. Improving warehouse productivity can not only reduce business costs but also increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by ensuring timely and accurate order delivery.
This article will explore a few key strategies and best practices to help you improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your warehouse operations. By providing your employees with the tools and systems they need to work productively, you can create a frictionless warehouse environment that benefits your customers, your team members, and your bottom line.
6 Tips to Improve Warehouse Productivity with the Help of a Warehouse Staffing Agency in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston
If you want to improve your warehouse productivity, you’ll need to ensure every member of your team has the tools and resources they need to do their jobs successfully. From proper safety and training protocols to clear organization and communication to keeping your warehouse strategically staffed, here are six expert tips from a warehouse temp agency for maximizing productivity.
Implement Warehouse Safety Protocols
In 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the warehouse and storage industry’s injury rate was 4.8 per 100 workers, as opposed to the national average of 2.7 per 100 workers across all private industries.
A high injury rate can damage your warehouse’s productivity in a few ways. Workers who suffer accidents and injuries on the job need to take time off work to recover, cutting into your business’s productivity. In the long term, a high workplace injury rate will make it more challenging to attract and retain qualified workers.
All this means that implementing warehouse safety protocols is critical for your productivity. You’ll want to ensure that each member of your team understands your company’s safety protocols before starting on site. Work to create an environment where your warehouse employees feel comfortable coming to their supervisors with safety concerns. And if an accident does happen, your leadership team should fully investigate the incident and create an action plan to minimize the likelihood of a similar accident occurring again.
Warehouse temp agencies support employers in maintaining safe workplaces by providing experienced employees who have been properly trained in warehouse safety protocols. In the case of a workplace injury that takes an employee away from the job, a warehouse staffing agency can quickly provide a temporary worker, so you don’t lose out on productivity.
Ensure Warehouse Workers are Fully Trained
To be productive, warehouse employees need to be properly trained in the skills, duties, workflows, and processes necessary for their jobs. Investing in your employees’ training and education creates valuable workers and can increase employee satisfaction and loyalty.
However, proper training requires significant investments of company time and resources. One strategy is to optimize employee downtime by having experienced team members cross-train newer workers. This allows employees to develop a wider range of skills, creating a more efficient and flexible workforce. Cross-training also allows you to pull in workers from other parts of the warehouse during busy periods. For instance, during the holiday shipping season, you might ask workers to help with picking products.
A warehouse staffing agency can help you build a properly trained workforce by providing you with employees who already have the skills and experience you need. Some light industrial and skilled trades staffing agencies can also work with employers to create specific training programs, ensuring that your new hires will arrive on-site ready to complete their jobs confidently and effectively.
Leverage Technology to Improve Warehouse Productivity
Investing in current technologies can go a long way in streamlining your operations and increasing your warehouse’s overall productivity.
A warehouse management system (WMS) is a type of software that can boost your productivity in several ways. A WMS can provide your employees with the most efficient routes for picking and packing inventory within your warehouse. It can create automated pick lists that help eliminate errors, ensure that order dates and deadlines are met, and prevent backlogs and shortages. And automated WMS workflows mean that each of your employees works within the same standards, allowing you to better review individual performance.
Inventory tracking technology can also make your warehouse operations more productive. Because today’s warehouses are so large, tracking products by hand is nearly always inefficient and ineffective. Instead, technology like barcodes and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags allow you to easily track inventory throughout your warehouse. This allows for a much higher degree of speed and accuracy in fulfilling orders.
Keep the Warehouse Clean and Organized
Due to the sheer size and scope of many modern warehouses, it’s essential to maintain a high level of cleanliness and organization. In general, reducing unnecessary clutter decreases the chance of human error, improving your warehouse’s safety and productivity.
Train your employees on the importance of creating clean and organized individual workstations. This boosts employee productivity by cutting back on the amount of time workers spend searching for necessary items and tools. It’s also crucial for supervisors to regularly inspect all tools for signs of wear and tear, and to promptly replace or repair broken tools. These broken tools should be immediately removed from the warehouse—employees who try to use ineffective tools will lose out on productivity and place themselves at a higher risk of injury.
Strategically organizing your warehouse’s layout is another effective tactic for boosting productivity. The more quickly and easily your employees can locate the items they need, the faster they’ll be able to fulfill orders. Store your most frequently sold items near the front of the warehouse or close to the dock to eliminate travel time, and store items that are often sold together close to each other. Finally, choose storage containers that are easy to load and minimize wasted space.
Create Clear Communication Channels
According to CBRE, the size (in square feet) of the average warehouse completed between 2012 and 2017 increased by 143% compared to the last development peak. While this dramatic expansion allows for increased business, it also makes effective communication between warehouse workers more challenging than ever.
Fortunately, there are plenty of tools and systems that allow you to communicate with your team across a large physical space. Some warehouse employers equip their workers with smartphones for this purpose. Two-way radios are another option, and in some ways are more efficient than smartphones—they operate faster, are more durable in warehouse conditions, and are more reliable in emergencies since they rely on batteries rather than a cell connection.
Wearable GPS devices also allow employers to keep track of their team members while they’re working in a warehouse. Not only do they make it easy to quickly find specific people you need, but they allow you to efficiently delegate tasks based on employees’ locations within the warehouse.
Just as important is establishing communication systems and protocols. To optimize productivity, it’s imperative to have a clear chain of command or accountability so your employees know which person to speak to about which issues. Additionally, regular in-person meetings and check-ins can help ensure all employees share a clear understanding of company expectations and goals.
Keep Warehouse Workers Motivated
A final and extremely effective tactic for optimizing your warehouse productivity is keeping your hard-working employees motivated to do a great job every day. Proper compensation, including competitive starting wages and regular raises, is fundamental in attracting and retaining high-quality workers. Additional monetary incentives can also motivate employees, particularly during busy periods—for instance, offering bonuses as a reward for exceeding high production goals can boost morale and encourage productivity. Other worker rewards like employee appreciation meals and team-building activities can supplement monetary incentives well.
Warehouse temp agencies can help keep your employees motivated by providing temporary workers to relieve the stress and strain that come with being understaffed. When your regular staff doesn’t have to pick up additional shifts or overtime due to a lack of workers, they’ll be less likely to suffer burnout and will be more productive during their normally scheduled hours.
Partner with a Light Industrial and Skilled Trades Staffing Agency in Dallas-Fort Worth to Optimize Your Warehouse Productivity
One way to implement many of these strategies for optimizing warehouse productivity is by partnering with a warehouse staffing agency. An agency can provide you with a flexible workforce made up of experienced, safety-minded employees with the skills your warehouse needs to meet demand and satisfy your buyers.
If you’re searching for solutions to optimize your warehouse productivity in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston, KP Staffing can help. Our temporary, direct, and temp-to-hire staffing agency has developed niche expertise in delivering highly qualified light industrial and skilled trades candidates to warehouse employers. With KP Staffing’s temp-to-hire services, you can try out an employee before you commit to making them a part of your regular staff, ensuring you only bring on the employees who will best optimize your warehouse’s productivity.
Contact us today to learn more about our skilled warehouse talent.