If you manage a warehouse, you must constantly be seeking ways to improve efficiency and cut costs at every stage of the picking, packing and dispatch processes. Making things more efficient is the way to maximise the productivity of employees, provide faster and better service to your customers and increase the turnover of the company.
Packing is a crucial stage in the process, as it is where items of inventory that have been ordered are prepared for dispatch. End-of-line packing is the very final stage in the packing work; there are several ways in which it can be made more efficient.
Read on to learn how you can improve this part of your warehouse operation.
Look at the key performance indicators
It will not be possible to improve packing efficiency if you do not have any existing standards for performance to measure it against. These standards are most commonly referred to as key performance indicators (KPIs). These are what you will judge your current end-of-line packing processes against to see what needs to be improved. Examples of relevant KPIs for warehouse packing include:
• Labour costs
• Number or percentage of mistakes per hour
• Number of items packed each hour
• Volume of packaging materials utilised
The goal will be to reach the industry standard for items packed per hour while also reducing the labour costs, number of mistakes and the amount of material that has to be used in packing. All of this boils down to increasing efficiency levels. The task will be to make the most efficient and cost-effective use of both employees and materials. This will save your business money by eliminating waste as well as the time and expense involved in correcting errors, while also making you more able to deliver orders on time – or even ahead of schedule. In turn, this will enhance the reputation of your business and increase your profits by attracting more customers.
Cut down on motion
One way to tackle all of these KPIs is to carry out a study of your existing end-of-line packing operations to identify superfluous elements and find ways of removing them. The idea is to reduce the number of touches that employees must do to complete the packing of items and also the number of times that they must move around the warehouse to finish their work. That will eliminate time wastage and ensure that greater numbers of items can be packed per hour while also potentially meaning fewer actual workers are needed to accomplish this.
The right equipment
Another way that businesses can improve packing efficiency is through acquiring better equipment. A packing station that has everything employees could need in a single place will cut back on wasted motion and touches very effectively. A good example of that is the Adjustable Packing Bench that we stock. This has a main laminate-covered packing shelf, a shelf for holding tools, racks for holding cardboard boxes, a shelf for a printer and bracket for a computer monitor, as well as a top roll holder, all built in. This means that it can be used for all parts of the physical packaging and admin work involved in packing and serves as a one-stop-shop solution for warehouses.
Our Processing Bench with built-in side tables for holding top boxes and a printer is another time and labour-saving packing solution that will help your business to meet its core packing KPIs. Equipment such as water-activated tape can also do that. This tape seals packaging securely with just one strip, as opposed to the multiple strips of standard pressure-sensitive tape used in most warehouses. Therefore, it will save on time and labour costs, unnecessary touches and motion, while allowing for more packing to be completed per hour.
No warehouse can afford to be without efficiency-maximising equipment in the modern era; it is simply a false economy to avoid investing in it.
Automate the process
Putting in place an automated end-of-line packing process is a third very good way to make it more efficient. Automation will significantly cut back on the number of touches and motion that are required to complete the packing of orders. Every employee is assigned a set part of the process to complete and does not have to move from one place, while the machinery handles much of the packaging work.
For that reason, a system of automation will also reduce the risk of human error during packing. It will enable more items to be packed per hour with fewer mistakes being made, ensuring that it helps your business meet every one of the main KPIs.
Here at Steely Products, we make and sell packing benches that are designed to enhance warehouse efficiency. Use the form below if you want to get in touch with us or place an order.Get a free quote