It’s as plain as that: efficient warehouses lead to satisfied customers. Continue reading to learn the top three tips for increasing the overall productivity of your warehouse as well as the pace and accuracy of your company’s shipments.
CHALLENGES IN CREATING AN EFFECTIVE WAREHOUSE
Jungheinrich and the Warehouse Education Research Council, which represents over 600 businesses, co-sponsored research on the effects order picking had on their operations a few years ago. The results were startling:
- Almost 70% of their time was spent handling pallets that were less than complete, which meant they were picking full cases and/or broken cases a lot of the time.
- Order picking accounted for more than 65% of the overall cost of operating their operations, owing to the scale of their fleets and the labor required to run them.
Customers are increasingly using alternative order picking models as the number of SKUs grows, or “explodes,” in tandem with increased demand for different quantities and sizes of goods. Companies use both low level and high level order pickers for case and piece picking, as well as turret trucks for complete pallet picking and putaways.
With the increase in SKUs, the warehouse or fulfillment center faces the additional difficulty of finding enough storage places, or slots. This can result in higher storage density, as well as the need for more productive, stable, creative, and cost-effective order picking processes.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE WAREHOUSE EFFICIENCY
Many warehouse managers are charged with attempting to address the query, “How can I improve the efficiency of my warehouse?” Finally, in this era of increasingly rising SKUs, there are two simple techniques for increasing warehouse quality and picking productivity.
1. Select the appropriate equipment to maximize order picking and increase operational performance.
2. Use best picking practices, such as slotting software and inventory management systems to effectively slot products.
- Getting rid of “paper” picking.
- Using the right storage systems (flow systems for high pallet count SKUs that maximize density).
- Examine emerging technology for increased production, such as semi-automated forklifts.
SELECTING THE CORRECT WAREHOUSE EQUIPMENT
The types of forklifts used for order picking, as well as warehouse goods, can have a significant effect on an operation’s efficiency. Factors like the type of order picker, walkies, or lift trucks used, as well as the right equipment mix, can boost or hinder a customer’s reliability, productivity, and accuracy.
Although electric pallet trucks or sit-down counterbalanced forklifts are the most common types of equipment used, depending on the type of picking to be performed, you can also consider the following equipment options:
- Low-level order pickers or high-level order pickers: Picking cases/pieces and counting cycles
- Complete pallet picking, putaways, and replenishment with turret trucks
These forklifts also come with unique innovations that help to boost productivity and efficiency even more. This helps the company to accomplish more in less time while also reducing fleet size and resolving storage issues.
INVEST IN NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Consider if emerging innovations, such as forklift semi-automation, are a good match for your operation to boost order picking efficiency.
What Is Semi-Automation and How Does It Work?
The navigation system takes over the operation of the lift truck once it reaches the very narrow aisle rack system, picking the right pallet from the right spot.
The driver does not need to look for the pick position or pallet level, but they are still there in case any manual adjustments are needed. The device sends data to the WMS for monitoring and analysis in the operation.
Warehouse Product Semi-Automation
With forklift semi-automation, processes that were previously managed by the lift truck operator are now handled by the forklift, even though an operator is still on board. The on-board navigation system decides the best route for travel when a warehouse management system (WMS) sends an order to the lift truck for picking or putaway.
What Are The Advantages?
- Up to a 25% increase in production
- Improved logistical efficiency versatility
- Fleet and labor reductions
- Order picking and stacking precision have been improved.
What Are the Products Used in Semi-Automation?
- Man-down turret trucks
- Man-up turret trucks
- Order pickers
These advancements in lift truck technology provide warehouse managers with new options today, as well as new opportunities for increased production and productivity. Since every application is different, warehouse managers should speak with a local lift truck dealer or a professional warehouse product consultant to determine the best solution for their needs.
By reducing downtime, product innovation creates new opportunities for productivity. Jungheinrich’s “2 Change, 1 Charge Guarantee” is an example. These products’ longer run times have some very strong warehouse quality and productivity benefits:
- On a single battery charge, the device is guaranteed to operate for 16 hours.
- There will be no interim charging.
- There is no need to replace the battery.
- There is no need for any extra charging equipment.
Customers can test Jungheinrich’s products for themselves by participating in a 7-day demo challenge.
A BETTER FUTURE INVESTMENT
There are several ways to operate a warehouse more effectively, whether it’s by investing in modern order picking technologies, using more reliable machinery, or improving the order picking processes. Making sound choices and investments in these areas will be critical to remaining competitive in the face of ever-increasing consumer demands and needs.