In the warehouse, we could use tools that make the process smoother and faster. Heck, that’s a fact even when it comes to life. The point is: there’s almost always a way to do something in a shorter amount of time and get even better results, or use less energy so we can focus on what matters.
I’m talking about streamlining everything that can increase productivity; making productivity faster, as it were. Let’s take a look at equipment and tools that should be used in a warehouse to help workers be more productive.
- Safety Equipment
I can think of no better way to maximise the number of shipping loads than staying out of the hospital. Or being sent home for an injury. (Wouldn’t that be such a low-blow to the warehouse’s efficiency?)
That’s why tools that can help keep you safe and out of the ER are your standard-issue safety equipment. Such as goggles, hard-hats in specific areas, wet floor signs and posts, etc.
This may be common knowledge by now, but here’s why that is EXACTLY how it improves productivity: it’s ingrained in our fibres. When you’re trained to use safety equipment and recognise warning posts, the less chance you have to think twice about them.
We’re travelling into the subconscious’ realm, here. If you spend half a second worrying about your safety equipment, because it’s an automatic process… That gives you more time to focus on what matters: meeting the quota and agenda before the workday ends.
- Gravity Conveyors
These puppies make it easy to transfer large items and materials from one end of the warehouse to the other. Not only does this reduce the number of workers needed to carry the items, they’re also less fatigued from carrying and walking. This leaves them able and willing to do much more work during the day – plus, they don’t have to groan and moan about their aches when it’s quitting time. (Always a plus.)
Gravity conveyors are a bit on the expensive side (ranging from $300-1500), depending on the OAW width (10-50”).
- Storage Lockers
Do you have blank walls? How about walls rarely used, and frequently empty? Consider putting a dozen or so storage lockers against them to maximise warehouse space. These are great ways for also storing items and materials that are too small to fit everywhere else, but still important enough to keep on hand when you need it.
This keeps all unessential messes off the ground and safely nested in “cabinets” where they belong. Plus, storage lockers give off the impression that the warehouse workers are qualified professionals who value organisation.
- Light Bulbs
Sure, light fixtures and bulbs may not come across our mind often. (Which is ridiculous.) What’s even more baffling is some people don’t even realise economical and powerful choices are out there! Want to know what makes sense? Seeing what you can do thanks to BRIGHT LIGHT. Know what doesn’t make sense? Fumbling around in dimly-lit areas, wasting valuable time.
Not being able to properly see (even in the daylight) is responsible for a lot of missed shipments and accidents. Accidents that could have been avoided with halogen bulbs or LED floodlights.
Forklifts are incredible for moving large materials at once. If you haven’t thought about purchasing or renting one – it’s highly advisable you do. This is because forklifts are phenomenal for unloading crated cargo from containers and making trips much shorter.
The average piece of equipment can lift (and handle) materials ranging from 2k lbs. All the way up to 100k lbs.
How to choose which forklift, though, requires some thought. There are 4 types of forklifts to choose from. These are…
- And dual-fuel powered
The tires, too, make a difference. You could choose between non-marking rubber tires or rough-terrain, depending on your particular warehouse or construction site or shop.
Whichever one you decide to go with, it’s important to test it out. Take it for a ride. See how much it handles – same as you would with a truck.
- Automate Material Inventory
You know the importance of receiving and storing materials with complete and total accuracy. This is especially important for databases, as inventory HAS to be updated the MOMENT merchandise is received.
This requires dedication and a system that automates the process as much as possible. And the more times people touch and move an item, the longer the process takes to get that item out of the warehouse. (Another reason to consider gravity conveyors.)
Solution? Check out Enterprise Resource Planning software. Basically, this is technology that helps you manage your business process. Workers can use a system to automate a LOT of work. The more you automate + less time wasted by workers = more productivity!
- Invest in Apps
Yes, there are apps out there that can help your team have a more productive workday. According to Mike Petersen (director of Zebra), Amazon workers scan more than 250 million packages per week. That’s a lot.
Even if you aren’t shipping that high quantity, I’ll bet your shipments are incredibly high, too. That’s why Zebra invented a new handheld scanning device called the TC8000. This touch-screen Android device (which Zebra calls a mobile computer) is a scanner.
But not just any scanner: the screen on this one faces the user as it scans. It used to be that, in order to scan, you had to use the scanner then read the screen. Scan, tilt, read. The seconds it took to do this ate up time and effort.
(Plus, it automatically scans so no trigger has to be pulled.) This should make taking inventory and updating stocks easier, eh?
There are a lot more things we can do to make our warehouse morale and productivity go sky-high through the roof. These short tips are just a starting point for now, however. As is the case, we should always be striving to improve ourselves and what we do to get more done in less time.