Labor is one of the most essential components of a thriving warehouse, but it can also be the most expensive. Small inefficiencies and mishaps can create substantial financial problems down the line, especially if they are coupled with outdated management techniques and strategies.
Reducing labor costs in your warehouse requires not only strong and creative leadership from the top, but also input and buy-in from every worker in that warehouse. To help, we have compiled some suggestions for how you could make your warehouse labor more efficient and cost-effective.
The first step to reducing warehouse labor costs is identifying what weaknesses need to be remedied through a comprehensive examination of your processes. By measuring your current workforce’s output with your current warehouse processes, you can zero in on any obstacles that cause slowdowns, inefficiencies, and defects.
In a lot of cases, standardizing manual work is a great first step toward reducing labor costs. Some warehouses still receive, pick, pack, and ship inventory without documented processes, creating room for unnecessary errors that require money and time to fix.
Training existing staff to work smarter and safer means fewer expenses for damage and injuries. Incentives for completing that training – as well as for meeting and exceeding on-the-job expectations – often mean less money in the long run spent on training new employees as well as a decrease in staff turnover.
Even when you do need to bring in new workers, training costs can be offset by having trustworthy existing employees help with on-the-job training. Guidance from experienced warehouse workers can help new employees learn the ropes for your operations at a low cost.
It’s important to note, however, that these and other measures may not be ideal for every warehouse. One of the best ways to reduce labor costs is by talking to your employees. The workers who interact with warehouses processes every day usually know better than anyone else where certain procedures could be made more efficient. Soliciting input from your employees should be a high priority when seeking to minimize labor expenses.
Inefficiency in the modern warehouse often stems from a lack of centralization. Even if companies have the latest technological tools and make sure employees are trained on how to utilize them, inefficient operations can slow down even the most advanced workspace.
A centralized labor and mobile device management system can help ensure workers know where to go and what to do in the event of a technological fault, workplace accident, or any other issue. Considering new alternatives to old processes may be worthwhile as well, if certain issues are too systemic to address with small organizational changes.