Oversee order processing, monitor inventories, and most importantly, manage a team of logistics professionals in an effective and efficient way – that’s just the top of the list of what fulfillment managers have to think about and solve daily.
Customer orders must be properly received, processed and delivered for maximizing customer satisfaction and for ensuring business’ growth. All of this, of course, requires strong organizational skills. A good part of those skills comes down to mastering time management.
Here are six tips and techniques to implement into daily work processes to ensure the warehouses run like clockwork.
Preventing procrastination within your team should be top on your list of priorities. To do so, implement time and attendance tracking. For this purpose, online timesheet software solutions are becoming the new norm as they are more reliable and more cost-effective than the old card-based time clock systems. Most online timesheets allow you to print and review reports for every employee, quickly checking on performance.
It’s been found that people tend to procrastinate when feeling overwhelmed with work. For this reason, make sure you have everything prepared and organized especially when receiving larger shipments. A manager’s job is to make sure that procedures are followed, and the goods are unpackaged and stocked accordingly upon receiving. If shipments come in at around the same time, make a plan and schedule that part of the day in a shared calendar. When you follow this kind of dock-to-stock principle of managing a fulfillment facility, you can accumulate considerate time savings.
The next thing you want to do is to communicate with upper management the necessity of providing the fulfillment team with proper work resources. Resources for guaranteeing normal warehouse operations shouldn’t be skimped on. Your team must have access to equipment that warrants adequate safety, efficiency and productivity conditions.
Some improvements to this area can include:
- Upgrading to LED lighting– it produces less heat and creates a more comfortable work environment.
- Upgrading the pallet racking system– it provides easier access to fast-moving inventory.
- Using cloud-based software systems– this allow you to access inventory in real-time and can significantly reduce operation time.
When people work in a safe and adequately equipped environment, both their productivity and efficiency levels increase.
Practice clear communication
Clear and streamlined communication within a team is the foundation for strong productivity. You should include as much information as possible when communicating, but bear in mind it shouldn’t become a nuisance. Make sure that all critical information concerning every shipment is transparent. Which will, in return, allow successful completion of every order.
Try implementing the following:
- Schedule daily and weekly meetings dedicated to collective problem-solving
- Spread your communication on multiple channels
- Try to make your messages consistent
- Have a clear plan for emergency situations
- Ask for and give feedback
- Let everyone know who to reach for help
Request feedback from tetams and encourage them to openly share their questions and concerns. Good communication between team members and managers creates a coherent and healthy team culture that will be able to react to all demands in a timely manner.
Adopt lean warehouse operations practices
Improving and streamlining your logistics functions can be a good way to gain a competitive advantage. You can achieve this by introducing lean warehouse operation practices that enable reductions in loading, handling, and unloading times. It increases reliability and streamlines information sharing while allowing for greater flexibility and adaptation to changing market conditions and customer specifications.
- Assets– make sure to efficiently fill and properly arrange physical stock and assets to minimize unproductiveness.
- Process– communicate with your warehouse employees and observe their daily routines with the aim of improving it.
- Team– play to your team’s strengths with lean hiring and employee management. Steer your new and existing employees to positions that suit them best and that will ensure maximum efficiency.
- Supply chain partners– integrate your systems with your partners’ to enable the sharing of important data.
Schedule maintenance plans
It’s, of course, better to have scheduled maintenance plans vs waiting for a machine to break down. If you schedule maintenance and implement regular inspections, you can identify potential problems before they become serious issues. This way you eliminate the time you would otherwise spend on abrupt repairs.
As machines become more connected to information systems, more data can be obtained about warehouse functioning. This data can then be analyzed for use in predictive maintenance and to build breakdown schemes.
Minimizing errors is one of the best ways to reduce time wasted. Investing in a good warehouse management system that notifies about errors, identifies issues, and that is connected to the ongoing maintenance plan keeps your warehouse organized and with minimal errors occurring.
This way employees will only need to check the accuracy and mitigate small errors instead of wasting time in searching for lost packages that can’t be found.
What techniques do you implement to ensure efficiency?
Guest Contributor: Marko Maric is a manager at Clockify.