Being a warehouse manager requires a person to juggle balls, torches, and chainsaws all day long. The only sure thing is that someone will toss a sword at you sometime during the day. But…your warehouse ERP can help. Here are a couple of ideas that will ease the pressure (a little).
1. Orders due to ship today and not yet in the warehouse
If the items on any order are at hand, one can always add a body or two and get them boxed, labeled and shipped. It is the orders that are not on hand that cause stress. A dashboard that identifies those items you still need is helpful. And if the dashboard also shows where they are now or were at last report, you also know who to call for a right-now status. Remind that person the item they are still working on needs to ship today and suggest they contact the salesperson immediately if it won’t get to the warehouse in time to ship today. If the item is a purchased part, have the same conversation with the buyer.
2. PO receipts due, and which ones are urgent
When the UPS driver leaves a large pile of boxes on the dock, they all look the same. Every one is brown cardboard with a packing slip inside an envelope. The one that people on the other side of the building have been impatiently waiting for does not glow in the dark and there is no spotlight shining on it. The majority of those boxes have parts and material that are needed for a job isn’t scheduled for a few days yet. They can sit until the urgent ones are handled. This ERP dashboard would show purchase orders due immediately, or within the next few days that are urgently required for a job or customer shipment. Look at all the boxes in the pile and find those few first and then process them right away. This dashboard depends on up-to-date purchase orders and operations that actually follow the production schedule.
3. Operational efficiency
Measuring warehouse efficiency is difficult. The shop often sees all their work engineered to the minute and knows the engineers have worked hard to make the employees efficient and effective. The warehouse often does not have that support. Ask the engineers to develop standards for unpacking and processing a PO receipt. Learn how long it should take to kit and deliver materials for a production job. Now use your dashboard to measure your employees work against these standards. Gut feel that everyone is working well is not enough. You might find you really have too many people when they all learn to work to standards – who knows?