Lead Forensics

How to improve the productivity of a traditional warehouse

Many warehouse owners concentrate on automating their operations to improve productivity. However, there are still many traditional warehouses that want to enhance productivity without costly automated systems. Logistics experts have suggested ways to do this.

A traditional warehouse primarily relies on manual handling and storage equipment, such as heavy duty trolleys or aisle picking trolleys. Ian Hopkirk from KPI Solutions emphasises that pick rates should be the primary focus to improve productivity. The initial step is data analysis, which does not require sophisticated software, but can be tracked easily using a simple spreadsheet that can monitor the progress of picking rates.

Another factor affecting picking rates is the labour shortage. With insufficient staff, only a limited number of items can be picked per shift. Ian Hopkirk suggests raising salaries and providing a clear promotion path towards senior positions to improve staff retention.

Flexible racking systems are an effective way to boost production, since they can adapt to changing product demands and order volumes. Whatever rack system is used, they should be able to utilise it to maximise storage density. The positioning of items is also important. For example, high volume items should be placed nearer packing stations to reduce picking journey times.

According to Ray Niemeyer from SafeGuard Products, safety must take priority in the warehouse, as it impacts employee welfare as well as lost production. Every piece of warehouse equipment should have protective devices like bumpers, safety netting or column protectors installed for safety purposes.

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