29 September 2017

4 top tips to reduce warehouse downtime

Reducing downtime should be an obvious objective for any warehouse-reliant business, regardless of sector. With so many pitfalls to avoid, though, keeping everything going at full speed is often a much harder task than it first seems. Thankfully, we’re here to help you change your warehouse operations for the better. Below are four top tips to help you on the road to complete logistical optimisation.

Focus on decision-making

Every day you’ll make near-countless decisions that impact your business and its success. Choosing a certain product or supplier; hiring one candidate over another; adjusting what seems like a minor process – these choices have consequences, and all can indirectly lead to unnecessary downtime. It’s important, therefore, to think carefully about what influences your actions. With so much technology around, it’s easy to get your hands on a wealth of invaluable data. From handheld scanners and mobile computers in the warehouse itself to the GPS systems attached to your delivery fleet – it all generates information, in real-time, that can easily be turned into decision-influencing insight. Firstly, invest in the latest technologies where possible; but also ensure your equipment is properly connected at all times. The more recent your information, the more relevant your insight and the better your decisions will be.

Invest in people – not just tech

The presence of technology in warehouses has grown rapidly in recent years. And, while you might have adapted just fine, you shouldn’t expect the same from every worker. Take the time to help staff understand the hardware and software you introduce into their working environment - they’re the ones using it every day, after all. As well as training them in how to use it, explain the benefits of using it at all; if they can appreciate the reasons for your investment, they’re much less likely to resist the change or cut corners. Feedback is another powerful tool here: find out what your staff think of the tools they use, and how their days are affected. You can use the information to optimise processes even further.

Avoid the domino effect

Not all downtime is avoidable – a mobile device could go missing, for example, or a staff member might fall ill. Rather than dwell on them, it’s crucial that you limit the impact these kinds of instances have on your operation. Any initial loss of productivity could be extended by a poor response from you and the team. Say a worker fails to report the missing device and moves onto something else, for instance – the issue is not solved and could cause further hassle down the line. The wrong reaction, however simple, could delay deliveries and impact your customers. Ensure the culture in your warehouse is one of reactive problem-solving, even before you invest in new technologies. Make sure you have back-up plans in place for when things do go wrong.

Enlist the right help

If it hasn’t happened already, it’s inevitable that game-changing technologies will soon infiltrate your warehouse – after all, the benefits are too great to ignore. It’s not enough to just invest in the equipment and wait for the results, though. Firstly, you – and your staff – must know how to use it, but what if something goes wrong? Or what if you have questions?

It’s crucial that you have the right support at all times; someone to troubleshoot, advise and answer your queries whenever they arise. Any delays in getting help could mean more downtime for your warehouse operations.

Look for an experienced UK-based support team that’ll be ready to help you around the clock, whatever the issue. Remote assistance and rapid call-outs should be available too, and everything must be made as easy as possible for you. TouchStar offers all of this and more, and we’re always happy to chat. Get in touch today to learn about the bespoke solutions and first-rate support available for your business.