Moving, controlling and protecting stored materials is fundamental to the success of your business. Why? Well, because damaged materials diminish the quality of your products, misplaced materials result in a direct financial loss, whereas, in some scenarios, mishandling materials causes potentially dangerous accidents.
Saving time, avoiding a halt in production and properly managing your warehouse space are just some of the additional bonuses that you’ll have to consider. In order to handle these materials properly, you need to invest in training, equipment, and proper organization. Here are six tips on how to improve the logistic of your business in all six of these essential areas.
Properly organize your staff
The first thing you need to understand is the fact that stocking and shelving may be the most important part of your material handling process. Why? Well, because it impacts your ability to both find and access materials that you need. It also impacts the speed of unloading, seeing as how nothing causes a longer hold-up than not knowing where the materials that you’re unloading go. For this reason, if you have the privilege of choosing, you need to put all the most experienced employees in the put-away position. As for the new employees, they should be the ones filling orders. Needless to say, this puts them in a position where they get some customer interaction experience and learn a thing or two about the product in a safe environment.
Keeping the place clean and well-maintained
It’s easy to attribute damage caused by material handling to the human error when there are clearly more factors involved. For instance, a tripping hazard may cause property damage, as well as be a cause to an injury, while a defect in the surface of a floor may even cause some trouble in forklift operation. Potholes and similar defects may also cause damage to vehicles, which, further contribute to the mishandling of materials. All in all, the maintenance of the premises is an incredibly important part of your material handling efficiency.
Provide necessary equipment
Another thing you need to understand is the fact that in order for some materials to be handled properly, your team will need to have access to specialized warehouse solutions and materials. We’re talking about equipment like forklifts, conveyors and electric tow tugs. At very least, you need some basic equipment like trolleys and pallet lifting devices. Adequate tools for the job will reduce the risk of mishandling materials and enable you to make your team’s job much easier. It also reduces the number of materials wasted, which is a huge plus in your ROI.
Ask for employee input
Hiring inspectors to check the safety and efficiency of the place is a good idea, yet, this still counts as an outsider’s perspective. What you need instead is someone who is personally handling and transporting these materials on a daily basis to give you their personal input. This kind of feedback can be incredibly insightful and help you improve the overall efficiency of your operations. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to act upon every single suggestion that you receive or that every piece of intel you gather this way will be revolutionary. This kind of attitude may also help your employee management efforts.
Think about hazardous materials
When it comes to hazardous materials, efficiency and safety become synonyms. This is due to the fact that there really isn’t any way to mishandle a hazardous material without endangering everyone on the premises. Therefore, these containers need to be well-made, adequately sealed and properly labeled. Most important of all, they need to be handled with care. This is why your team, or at least those parts of your team that is expected to handle them, may need to undergo some additional training. It’s also pivotal that you make a mention of this in your safety statement, in order to gain some legal insulation, as well. Safety comes in many different forms and it’s important that you cover everything.
Scheduling of the arrival
The last thing you need to keep in mind is the fact that scheduling of the arrival of new materials may be crucial in your handling efficiency. There are two bad scenarios that you need to try to avoid at all costs. First, the scenario where you get a shortage of supplies, which causes a halt in your production. The second scenario is a situation in which you don’t have enough space to store all of these materials, which may force you to look for an inefficient temporary solution. Anything in between should do just fine.
In the end, increasing material efficiency is in direct correlation with the overall efficiency of your business. This is hardly a surprise when you take a moment to consider just how many essential business organization factors go into this. Sure, on its own, this aspect may not be enough to make or break your business, yet, those who can handle this with success, shouldn’t have much trouble in other areas of production either.