Our warehouse consultants recently wrote that no job should be considered done until the clean-up is finished. It was one of our tips for helping keep your warehouse clean. But this tip goes well beyond cleanliness when it comes to making your warehouse efficient. It should be an extension of a policy of finishing clean and starting clean each day. Putting this idea firmly into the process of your warehouse can eliminate a lot of wasted time and help your workforce become more efficient about getting their work done. So how does it work?
Set aside time at the end of each shift for tidying up. Most warehouses find that the last 30 minutes of the workday is the perfect time for getting this done. Your workforce is likely anxious to get off the clock anyway, so giving them something out-of-the-ordinary to do can help keep them focused and working. Encourage them to finish the day clean by doing things such as:
- Sweeping the floor around their workstations
- Emptying the trash cans and recycling bins
- Restocking office and warehouse supplies
- Finishing the processing of broken or damaged items
- Setting out paperwork that will be needed for the next shift
- Setting up anything they need for the next shift
This helps your team focus on looking for anything they might have missed and getting all those last minute items taken care of before they head out the door. It also sets up the next shift for success.
When you finish the workday clean, you’ll have a clean start the next day or for the next shift. That’s because there are no miscellaneous bits to worry about and no loose ends to tie up. The next team starts with a clean slate of projects and knows exactly what needs to be done. They don’t have to sort through the mess left by the last team or on their last shift to get started. Instead, they can dive right in and get to work. This can be a huge increase in your productivity and eliminate that first thirty minutes of the shift that’s often spent just trying to figure out what needs to happen next.
Other Ways to Keep the Flow Going
Both of these tips are simple ways to keep the flow going in your warehouse. It can help eliminate the dip in productivity that you often experience at the beginning and end of every shift. Starting clean and finishing clean aren’t the only way to help with the shift change, though. Here are some more tips:
- Overlap start and stop times. Have managers come in about 30 minutes before the end of the other shift so they can get a run down on the day. That way when the other shift ends, they will be up to speed and ready to get going.
- Keep a communication notebook. This can be a quick way to jot down notes about reordering or other issues on the warehouse floor that people should be aware of. This isn’t for inventory or human resources issues; instead, it can be for notes about equipment or letting the new team know why there is a box half-filled in the corner.
- Set a good example. Don’t start your own work day by sipping a cup of coffee and surveying the warehouse floor for 30 minutes. When you clock on, get right to work. That example will show your team what you expect of them, too.
Of course, these aren’t the only ways to increase the productivity of your warehouse. Our warehouse consultants know that it’s often the layout and design of a warehouse that can make or break it’s productivity. If you are concerned about the efficiency of your warehouse and your workers, it’s time to look at warehouse optimization with the help of the best consultants in the business. DAK Equipment & Engineering has been hard at work making warehouses in the United States more efficient and more profitable for decades. We’re ready to help you, too. Get in touch with our team today to learn more about all of our warehouse optimization options including layout, design, automation, and planning. Give us a call or contact us through our website to get started today!