Low-Cost Ways to Boost Throughput
(Boonton, NJ, August 20, 2009) Automation is certainly a great way to boost throughput rates in the DC, but in an uncertain economy, costly equipment upgrades might not be a possibility. That doesn't mean you can't find some low-cost ways to boost throughput, says Norman Saenz, associate principal with KEOGH Consulting.
"There are lots of things you can do within the four walls of the warehouse to increase your productivity from receiving right through to shipping," says Saenz.
In the August issue of industry newsletter Distribution Center Management, Saenz recommends looking in the following areas to find savings:
- Use your WMS. If you've spent a lot of time and money investing in a WMS, you need to use that technology, Saenz says. Use it to direct putaway and replenishment, and to help improve picking and slotting.
- Profile your products. You've heard it a million times, but Saenz can't stress it enough: understand which products are your fast, medium, and slow movers. Until you put your fast movers in the most accessible locations and reduce travel time, you just won't see an increase in throughput.
- Watch out for double-handling. The more times a worker touches a product, the longer it will take to get out the door. Analyze your process to see if there are times a worker handles product more than once, and work to eliminate any double-handling.
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For more than 40 years, Distribution Group publications have helped distribution center and warehouse managers increase productivity, cut costs, and meet increasing customer demands. Distribution Group publishes Distribution Center Management newsletter, books and reports, and a free e-newsletter.