Note: Today’s post is part of our “Editor’s Choice” series where we highlight recent posts published by our sponsors that provide supply chain insights and advice. This article is from Open Sky Group and offers tips for removing wasted time in your operations.
“Time keeps on slippin, slippin, slippin…”
That’s an opening line from a Steve Miller song, Fly Like an Eagle.
In the song, Miller sings about his lofty hopes for the future; all very noble and hard to feel otherwise as you’re listening. Less aspirational can be reducing the time that keeps on slipping away in your warehouse operations. In the current labor market, time slippage means lost dollars, missed service, and the inability to grow your business.
As of the July 2022 BLS statistics, non-farm payroll employment returned to pandemic levels. The unemployment rate was 3.5%. Traditionally, 4% to 5% is considered “full employment.” We have 5.7 million unemployed people and there are 10.7 million jobs open in the US per the Aug 2022 BLS statistics.
What? We have 10.7 million jobs that need to be filled AND we have only 5.7 million people to fill them. Yikes!
Is automation the answer? Well, it is certainly a consideration. Automation can lessen the effort it takes to complete a task. Think of it like a lever. If you can only move so much weight as a human, you can lift way more with a lever. How you design the lever dictates how much you can decrease the effort needed to complete the same task. Similarly, automation designed around an ineffective process can have a minimal and, at times, negative impact on the process that you are intending to improve.
Automation is best applied after you have done the basics.
The first step? Removing warehouse wasted time.
The key is to look at time, not headcount. Sure, there may be some reductions in staff but more likely in this market you’ll see improvements in open roles, overtime, and timed burned in constant training due to turnover.
Fatigue is a top reason given by warehouse workers for leaving their jobs. Travel is the biggest source of wasted time in a warehouse. That wasted time and effort fuels fatigue. We are talking about the distance a picker in a warehouse can travel, sometimes as much as 12 miles in a shift. That is exhausting and a source of job dissatisfaction. If you can reduce the travel time to complete productive tasks, you improve throughput and put less stress on your team.
To read the full article, click HERE.