Lean Warehouse Management For Your Business
Current warehouses are not just full of warehouse racking used for storage. Many business operations involve larger procedures including receiving products, tagging, unpacking, picking, and packing then dispatching. To run an efficient warehouse, it’s important for businesses to reduce any processes and tasks that take up unnecessary time and resources that are not adding additional value. Lean warehouse management is the procedure of creating warehouse operations that streamline your procedure without using more resources than required. This can be achieved by applying the 5S system of lean to your businesses. These are Sort, Streamline, Shine, Standardise and Sustain.
The first step to lean warehouse management is to sort the necessary and unnecessary processes and procedures that take place within the warehouse. The aim of this task is to gain a deep understanding of which aspects of your operations are distracting your staff from working to their optimal level. Once you identify these areas you are able to eliminate the ones that are not necessary and optimise the ones that are. Make sure you have identified all of the procedures that occur in the warehouse prior to moving onto the next stage.
Once you have the necessary procedures left, it’s time to start optimising these processes and removing the operations that slow down your staff’s efforts. During the streamline process, see if you’re able to remove certain parts of the workflow without affecting productivity within the business. You’ll find by removing certain parts you will actually increase productivity levels as your team will be able to complete the essential requirements effectively. Some ways to streamline your processes include.
- Assessing where staff members are placed to complete tasks and moving them if there is another position where they will be able to work more efficiently.
- Move your most-used essential items and resources to a place where they are more accessible to your team.
- Improve the navigability within the warehouse with clear signage.
A cluttered and grimy warehouse isn’t going to inspire productivity; it can also cause unnecessary accidents if items are left in the way. To get the most out of your team make sure you’re keeping your warehouse as clean and organised as possible. Some ways to implement a regular cleaning program in your warehouse include:
- Create a clean-up process in your regular workflow.
- Make sure cleaning necessities are easily accessible.
- Ensure there are places staff can get rid of unnecessary items such as used boxes, plastics, and tags.
By this point, you will have implemented procedures and protocols for your warehouse. These processes should include workflow backup plans when events don’t go to plan. Once these contingent workflows have been developed it’s important that your staff understand these processes so everyone can clearly follow them. Ways to implement this include:
- Provide training to all team members.
- Make sure there is clear signage that outlines any specific protocols.
- Implement workflow documents for every department in your warehouse team.
Now that you have created a lean warehouse system it’s important that these new procedures are sustained and regularly improved. While you’ve reduced the number of unnecessary operations, you’ll find you may need to reassess your updated protocols. Ways this can be achieved include:
- Conducting frequent assessments with teams and individual staff members.
- Encouraging feedback from your team on a regular basis.
- Providing feedback to your staff on how well they are adhering to the protocols.
By implementing the 5S approach into your warehouse, individual staff and teams will always be able to work to the best of their ability meeting KPIs and adding to the overall success of the business.
Shelving Depot Solutions
When we engage in the Design + Build Consultancy with you we take all these factors into consideration. We consider access, workflow, aisle widths, handling equipment, and more to ensure that you can maximise the productivity of your warehouse. Contact our team today to arrange a consultation.