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Resources and Ideas to Inspire Higher Efficiency Levels

This post is part 7 in a series of 10 different approaches to addressing the common challenges faced by distribution centers (DCs) across a broad range of industries without investing in automation. 

The sixth blog in this 10-part series exploring ways to enhance operational efficiency without investing in automation offered a selection of solutions to address the little impediments that might be big productivity barriers. In this post, we’re taking a look at different idea sources for measures that can inspire greater efficiency.

Step 7: Raise the Bar

Today you noted — again — that the metrics in a specific area or department haven’t hit their target. It’s time to head out onto the floor to observe and inquire. Watch the associates performing tasks, then ask them why they’re doing what they do. Most of the time the response will be: “Because we’ve always done it this way.”

That’s your cue to re-evaluate the status quo. As part of the investigation, don’t neglect to ask associates for feedback and ideas. As the people who do the work every day, they are a tremendous (and often overlooked) resource for ideas about ways to work smarter.

Other efficiency improvement ideas can come from industry sources, such as those offered by the many associations and conventions focused on the warehousing, supply chain and materials handling fields. Equipment suppliers, distributors and trade publications also regularly share insights into the steps other operations have taken to boost productivity.

Finally, consider incentivizing a little friendly competition among associates to seek out and suggest ideas for streamlining processes with specific rewards, or tie productivity to performance-based pay raises or bonuses. Posting an individual team’s accuracy and throughput statistics can inspire greater participation. Benchmarking employee performance by individual, team, shift, department or other criteria with labor management systems (LMS) can also help identify opportunities for better efficiency and areas that would benefit from additional training.

To learn more about the other nine steps, download the latest Honeywell Intelligrated white paper, “10 Steps to Improve Operational Efficiency: Addressing Common Order Fulfillment Challenges Without Investing in Automation.” Stay tuned for the eighth step in this series: “Conduct Process Reviews.”