How Mapping the Process Yields Greater Productivity
December 3, 2020
This post is part 8 in a series of 10 different approaches to addressing the common challenges faced by distribution centers (DCs) across a broad range of industries without investing in automation.
The seventh blog in this 10-part series exploring ways to enhance warehouse operational efficiency without investing in automation looked at different idea sources for measures that can inspire greater efficiency. Now let’s see how frequent examinations of mapped processes and associated metrics can help to identify areas of improvement.
Step 8: Conduct Process Reviews
Are you confident that everyone in your facility knows how the operation should function? One of the easiest ways to confirm that understanding is to draw a warehouse process map which documents every touch that happens — from receiving through each area and department, and finally at shipping.
Then, share the map with the associates who perform the processes and ask for their input. Chances are, they’ll make multiple changes. That’s because, as they’ve gained proficiency in certain tasks, they’ve figured out shortcuts. The question is: Are those shortcuts time savers, or causing oversights (such as preventing the collection of required data)? Either way, you’re likely to discover opportunities for streamlining and updating processes for higher productivity.
Additionally, be sure to review processes and metrics with managers and associates frequently as another step toward identifying more efficient handling and fulfillment methods. A review is not, however, pinning statistics to a corkboard in the break room or displaying them on a monitor. Instead, it’s an opportunity to share insights into operational performance facility-wide and solicit feedback for possible improvements at every level. The review also ensures that the entire team is working to meet the same productivity and efficiency objectives.
A key time to schedule a metrics review is after a major fulfillment event, such as a peak holiday season, while the experience is still fresh. Give all team members an opportunity to consider how the increase in order volume was handled and suggest adjustments that can be made prior to the next throughput spike.
To learn more about the other nine steps, download the latest Honeywell Intelligrated white paper, “10 Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency: Addressing Common Order Fulfillment Challenges Without Investing in Automation.” Next up, the ninth step in this series: “Benchmark Performance Against Similar Operations.”
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