BY KIRSTEN AUSTIN, DCSC, Inc
If You Have Time to Lean You Have Time to Clean
I confess, when I was a kid I was a slob. My mother could not stand how I kept my room and was always on me about keeping things neat and clean. This has changed, thank goodness, now I can tell you the best run warehouses are clean, neat and presentable at any given time.
Everything Has A Spot
When I came from home from school I remember being so excited to tell her something but the first thing she’d say is “Take your shoes off and put them by the door, hang up your coat and put your book bag where it belongs.” One of the largest factors in warehousing success is to have a known spot for your items. This is a huge discussion for smaller growing companies. Even if your inventory is always changing you still need designated locations and bins. Those places need to be labeled correctly. When you implement a true WMS System there is a science based on your picking process in sequencing bin locations because the handheld devices will actually direct your pickers in the most efficient route to pick or move products.
Get Rid Of It
You guessed it, get rid of excess inventory. My Mom was a “stickler” on keeping things to a minimum. This may have been because we were in the military and moved often but we certainly learned that less is more. This same concept should be considered in your warehouse. Outdated non-moving inventory costs you money period.
I’d like to say I was a super star student and on top of my game, but that would not be entirely true. Every day my mom would ask my brother and me what we accomplished and what still needed to be done. If your warehouse can not track your daily, monthly or annual productivity you will have issues. It is critical for your team members to be accountable for their work.
Rewarding Good Behavior
OK, today some child therapists may consider it bribery or say that good performance should just be expected. My brother and I were awarded for good grades and received a certain amount of money related to the grade. Hey this at least got a “C” out of me for science. Some of our very best distribution customers track and reward their top producers with bonus’ or additional incentives.
Double Check It
My mom would ask if we completed our homework and we learned quickly to be truthful about that. That’s because she’d say let me double check on that. It is absolutely critical if you do not have a WMS or real time shipping system in place to double check your shipments. There is a cost for suppliers to ship the wrong product which far outweighs the cost for a quick double check.
Last but Not Least -Be Safe
If I could count the number of times I heard mom shout, “Be careful!” it would’ve been up there in the thousands. Work place safety is absolutely critical. I just shiver when I walk through a warehouse and see dangerous and sloppy habits like pallets or boxes stacked wrong so they could topple over and hurt someone. Or worse watching an individual who has not been trained or just doesn’t care driving a forklift like a maniac. My goodness, it is absolutely important to train your personnel and ensure safety is taken seriously.
My mom’s retired now but I always tell her she should be a warehouse manager to which she replies, “You’re silly!”