Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Using Technology to Boost Warehouse Productivity

Often neglected and disregarded, the warehouse plays a key role in a business’s productivity. The best way of increasing warehouse efficiency is by modernizing it – new technologies physically speed things up. Additionally, modernizing a warehouse breathes a healthier attitude towards work inside it, by increasing morale and motivation in general. Investing into your warehouse technology will definitely pay off!

Lighting

Humans are visual beings – we are meant to be active in daylight and rest during nighttime. This is why dark, dim, improperly-lit places tend to decrease productivity and focus. The best source of lighting is always the natural one. Despite this, warehouses cannot rely on it, seeing as how they are purposely closed-off from eyes of passers-by. Naturally, proper lighting is the name of the game, when it comes to warehouses.
Light isn’t only important in terms of worker productivity. Without proper illumination, the risk for potential errors, safety issues and injuries is increased. You, as a business owner are responsible for your employees’ health and safety, so installing quality lighting should be on the top of your list. Going with LED lights is always recommendable – although they are more expensive than your typical lighting fixtures, not only do they provide a healthier type of light, but also pay off in the long run, seeing as how they are more durable. Furthermore, LED lights are more environmentally-friendly, so there really is no reason for not installing them.

Barcodes

Originally used to mark railroad cars, barcodes have seen a broadening of their use in the past few decades. Not surprisingly, we now take these for granted (as we do many other technological improvements), but we often forget that the cashiers at supermarkets would have to type in codes for each product if it weren’t for those little parallel lines and numbers. Today, barcodes are extremely widely applied – warehouses that use these have seen increases in productivity, solely based on the quickening of the process of labeling and storing items. Yet another aspect of barcodes improving warehouse productivity is outlined in the fact that human error is brought down to a bare minimum.

Scanning Devices

Although it might sound logical that scanning devices go with barcodes, these gadgets are worth a mention. Scanning devices make locating and picking inventory when needed and conducting cycle counts easy, requiring little or no effort.
There are two types of scanning devices:
  • Handheld scanners, which are portable and are usually long-range, which is of tremendous importance, when it comes to products stored on racks – handheld scanners can reach any shelf in a warehouse.
  • Wearable scanners, which, although they aren’t long-range, are convenient due to the fact that the workers can use both hands for performing warehouse duties, which makes the whole job safer.
In order to get full access to the storage units, equipping your warehouse workers with both of the mentioned scanner types can be an investment that will pay off.

WMS

WMS, short for Warehousing Management Systems are a technological advancement, well worth the money. Their purpose is distribution center efficiency, labor productivity, customer service and inventory levels monitoring. Basically, these are tools for making sure that everything is done properly within a warehouse.

RFID

Short for Radio Frequency Identification, these devices can be placed everywhere within a warehouse, with the primary purpose of tracking physical inventory, but with a bonus of serving as a security measure. Place them at entrances, exits and checkpoints throughout your warehouse.

Dock Door Scheduling

Now, every warehouseman knows how long it takes for a truck to be unloaded. On the other hand, every trucker is well aware of the fact that waiting for the dock door to open in the truck yard often takes longer than the actual unloading process. By streamlining the inbound and outbound operations, dock door scheduling software makes operations within a warehouse more efficient. Additionally, the cost of moving goods is reduced by this and the faster the things are completed, the more work gets done within a workday – productivity boosting at its best!
Some of the mentioned improvements do tend to require investment, but others basically go without saying. In any case, obtain these upgrades one by one, until you’ve reached your full warehouse potential. Remember, making your warehouse productive and efficient will greatly boost your business – it all starts there!


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