A vital component of your role as a supervisor is to help your organization control costs. Of course, having a safe work environment and providing training, tools, and other resources to keep managers and employees safe goes a long way in controlling costs. Another way you can make a big impact on costs is by reducing waste related to materials handling.
The following eight ways to lower materials handling costs, is adapted from the Logistics and Materials Handling Blog by Adapt a Lift Group. While these strategies are focused on warehouses, they can be adapted for other locations and activities.
Be a Better Supervisor
- Error Reduction
Implement a focus on reducing error in areas where materials are handled. By collecting data on error rates and setting specific targets to reduce these rates, improvements in the overall quality of operations can be achieved. A reduction in error rates improves efficiencies and more importantly reduces unnecessary expenses.
- Maintain Storage Conditions
Ensuring storage conditions are appropriate such as temperature and humidity can guarantee any goods stored within the warehouse will be maintained to a superior standard. As uncovered areas of storage can subject goods to weather damage it is important to ensure the coverage and secure storage of goods to avoid unnecessary costs especially during peak periods when the movement of goods will increase drastically.
- Reduce Touch Labor
Reducing the number of times employees are required to handle material contributes to an increase in productivity and profit. Production creates value and every minute spent moving, sorting, preparing or storing material equates to lost productivity. Implementing a productive touch labor management plan can save your business time and money.
- Save Energy
Timers and sensors which ensure lights turn off when no one is around an area is energy efficient and will save money on electricity bills. Alternatively, replace existing light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. A long-term strategy to reduce energy consumption is painting walls white and installing windows to introduce more natural light.
- Optimize Space
Land is one of the largest contributors to overhead costs in warehousing. Cost per pallet stored should be constantly reviewed to ensure space is always optimized. The type of racking within your warehouse should utilize the height of your warehouse. Aisle space is also a consumer of space and having the right equipment to optimize this space can contribute to cost savings in the long run. Reviewing space is an important factor in the contribution to long-term strategy and profits.
- Assess New Technology
Investigate new lower-energy systems for your warehouse which can contribute to cost savings. Replacing older equipment at the optimal time is one way to significantly improve productivity and maximize profit within the warehouse.
- Employee Suggestions
Employee suggestions can play a key role in reducing costs and improving productivity within the warehouse. Employees have hands-on experience regarding daily operations and can come up with easy-to-implement cost saving ideas. This also ensures employee commitment to implement these cost saving strategies is greater because they feel more engaged in the initiative.
- Continuous Improvement Program
Reducing wasted motion, wasted time and wasted inventory can be controlled through the implementation of a continuous improvement program. The program should include visual communication of information, process mapping, process control, and identification and elimination of defects. By implementing such a program within the warehouse, efficiencies can be improved, and costs can be minimized.