Improving distribution center operations is an ongoing task, and effective distribution managers continually review and update procedures to stay competitive. It is important to keep processes at peak performance and employees motivated to work efficiently and effectively to keep the firm profitable. Whether you review your facilities on a monthly, quarterly or a bi-annual basis, examining each section of your process is critical in maintaining a productive distribution center. Distribution technology is developing rapidly, and discovering what changes can improve your operations is always critical.
In What Areas Should You Improve?
Automation cannot only improve the speed with which your line moves, it can also be cost-effective. Conveyors, AS/RS, and AGVs do not tire or get moody, and they stay on task efficiently. However, tools like this can’t do all the work, and putting them in place is a costly up-front investment. Consider this option from all sides before making the change.
Communicating with employees can help optimize your production rate and allow you to be more profitable. Many jobs cannot be done by automation, because a human is needed to make judgment calls. Collaborate with supervisors to incentivize your team for peak labor performance.
Space is both horizontal and vertical, and it is probable that your vertical space is not being maximized. In conjunction with automation, look up to get more room to allow you to get things done.
Implementing a robust training program to help staff understand the “whys” of your distribution center processes will get them excited about contributing to the firm. This type of training will multiply as your staff discusses new ways to improve old processes.
Invest in the safety of your employees by organizing workstations and optimizing them for the most comfort to avoid straining legs, back and neck. Workers who are uncomfortable or even in pain will not be able to put in their best work. Ergonomic workstations reduce absences and improve labor efficiency.
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