A lot of work goes into managing a warehouse. From the time a product is produced to the moment, it reaches the customer, there are many processes involved, and these processes are the core of the warehouse organization. Warehouse processes are not immune to waste. The waste is usually the source of many warehouses failing to meet their goals. Therefore the reasonable thing to do is to try and eliminate waste.

The term used is lean manufacturing. It deals with handling waste from all corners of the warehouse. Be it on labor or inventory, lean manufacturing aids to enhance warehouse performance.  To start with, why don’t you try eliminating waste by;

Checking your inventory

The supply chain depends on warehouse inventory to maintain the flow.

For this reason, warehouses will produce and stock more inventory to ensure that there are no shortages.  It’s hard to believe that the inventory can be a source of waste. How this occurs is when there is overhead inventory.

The sales should determine the inventory. The production process, therefore, requires you utilize the sales data to minimize inventory overhead. Work to fulfill the short-term sales as you control the inventory.

Avoiding overproduction

Following inventory overhead, the next area to eliminate waste in the production process. Overproducing has its extra expenses.  The labor required may need to double to meet the deadline. In doing so, you will be forced to budget for the additional employees.  Overproduction also causes storage troubles. You will have to find extra space for the inventory which is difficult especially if it is slow moving.

The way to go about reducing overproduction is to cut the working hours accordingly and embrace lean batching. Also, do not overproduce so that you keep people working. If the demand doesn’t require an overproduction, do not do it otherwise you will have to face all the problems that come with this action.

Avoiding downtime

Time is a precious resource in warehouse management and other businesses. Halting a process for whatever reason, be it for additional inspection or waiting for parts, is another warehouse waste. This is what is referred to as the downtime. The downtime is eventually reflected in the overall quality of the product. You may miss a production step when trying to recover the time lost thereby compromising on quality. Also, the warehouse may need to spend a little more to reach the target on time.

Since customers are the ones who will suffer the consequences of downtime, it is essential to ensure that if it is unavoidable, it doesn’t affect the quality of products. Thus, eliminating downtime is the right thing to do and making early preparations assists warehouses to cut this time as they plan to ensure the warehouse processes are not affected by any inconveniences.

Taking into account these three wastes, the next thing to do is to use other methods of waste elimination to evaluate your warehouse operations. The evaluation, guided by lean manufacturing and six sigma methods of waste elimination, exposes the areas undermining smooth warehouse operations and those that need improving to achieve efficiency at low cost. Warehouse waste delays the processes affects the quality and the storage of the inventory.

If you want to improve quality, eliminate waste, reduce cost and reduce the lead times, this is how. Avoid downtimes, overproduction, and inventory overhead. In addition to these three ways, it is essential to use the lean manufacturing process to eliminate other kinds of waste in the overall warehouse operations.