The quiz show Jeopardy! isn’t the only place where the questions, not the answers, are mandated. Typically when performing a review in your operations, you must first begin by asking the right questions before you begin to improve efficiency. Here are some tips to follow when reviewing your packing and manifesting functions:
- Take some time and watch a packer do their job. Are they taking a lot of steps? Are they bending and reaching a lot? How many keystrokes do they need to perform on an average order? Are they waiting for screens to appear or paper invoices or reports to come out of the printer? How often are they replenishing their supplies? How are products delivered to the packer–is the flow uniform and easy for the packer to handle? How does the work flow from inbound order to finished package? Is this a smooth path?
- How does work flow at the pack station? Is there enough room for the job to be done? Could the workspace be more efficient if another shelf level were put on the table surface to hold a monitor printer or other packing tool? Would a monitor arm or keyboard drawer help?
- Can in-line systems such as pillow or paper dispensers be utilized? How about an in-line taping machine? How would your layout need to change?
- What types of bottlenecks occur in the packing area, and why? Is there any way to mitigate the bottlenecks using supervisory management, or additional resources?
Sam Flanders is president of Durham, NH-based Warehouse Management Consultants