Tips for Improving Material Handling

Are you looking for new ways to help improve efficiency in your operation? Below are a few tips on how you can improve material handling productivity in your warehouses!

Assign pro’s to do put-away
  • When it comes to receiving products, use experienced employees who know the products and understand how to stock bins and shelves
  • To help new employees, start them with filling orders.  This can help them develop product, customer and paperwork system knowledge

Schedule the arrival of trucks

  • Reduce the pressure on receivers and shippers by having a set arrival time, eliminating any wait time
  • By having a more efficient truck arrival schedule, you can reduce the number of dock doors you will need to operate, thus saving money on utilities

Use different shifts for shipping and receiving

  • Split up shifts, receive goods during one shift and ship during another—this can help cut staging requirements in half

Speed up unloading

  • Sitting trucks cause congestion in your facility
  • 60 percent of mass merchants unload trucks in less than one hour, while only  20-30% of the grocery industry performs at that standard.  Does your operation measure up the same?

Keep floors maintained

  • Floor defects reduce productivity, forcing operators to slow down for safety
  • Potholes and uneven or deteriorating floor section seams can cause excessive wear and tear on the wheels of your lift trucks
  • Floor defects can cause tips while carrying loads which can lead to injury or product damage

Improve packing operations

  • Ensure packers get a complete order sheet to eliminate time spent searching for lost or missing items
  • Ensure employees are given enough space to operate
  • They need enough room so they are not running into each other and tripping over boxes
  • A steady workflow ensures that packing operations don’t fluctuate between dead periods and rush hour activities
  • If there are fluctuations, you may need to revise your order picking process because it is not operating effectively

Seek forklift operator input

  • Inform your lift truck operators of any new process improvements to ensure maximum efficiency while operating
  • Ask operators about any task performed they think could be improved and how they could improve the task.  Operators have firsthand knowledge of the task and you will be surprised with the ideas they can come up with.
  • Observe your best operator to discover their processing tricks.  Have those operators teach others on how to save time and effort.  This could improve the least performing operator and discover a real leader among your forklift operators while improving warehouse efficiency.

If you follow a few of these tips, you can improve efficiency at your operation in no time!

2 Comments

2 responses to “Tips for Improving Material Handling”

  1. Braden Bills says:

    It makes sense that a business would want to improve their material handling process. It’s important to be fast and efficient! It’s a good idea to get some equipment to help the process.

  2. After going through this list, being organized seems to the key to successful material handling. I like the suggestion to split the shifts in half. I imagine it can get tiring doing everything at once. I’ve heard that equipment like vacuum hoppers can be quite helpful as well.

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