One of the most challenging tasks you have as a warehouse manager is to create a workplace environment that is both positive and productive. But while it is certainly tough to execute, the payoff is substantial. Workplaces that support productivity and also demonstrate that they value their employees are far more likely to succeed.
So how do you create an environment that promotes both? It begins with you. If you’re not making an active effort to create such a workplace, who will? That’s why it’s important to ask yourself the following four questions, as they will provide you with the building blocks to make your warehouse a more positive and productive one.
1. Is my warehouse organized?
It’s an unfortunate reality that many warehouse managers undervalue the importance of creating an organized warehouse. “Organized” can certainly mean different things to different people, however, there are some general rules of thumb when it comes to ensuring that your warehouse organization is helping, not hindering your employees to do their work efficiently.
An easy way to figure out if your warehouse is organized is to think about how easy it is for employees to complete simple tasks. For instance, are different zones in your warehouse easy to locate with clear signage? Do you use warehouse barcode labels on each item to assist your employees to locate products they are looking for more efficiently? Is there clear signage to indicate where each and every product is located?
These are just two examples of easy and inexpensive modifications that will make your warehouse significantly more organized. It’s the simple things, after all, that make a huge difference to employee productivity and happiness.
2. Is my warehouse laid out in a way that promotes productivity?
Your warehouse layout is one of the most critical decisions you can make as a warehouse manager. The layout of your warehouse, after all, can make it simple for employees to complete their job, or make it a burden.
Think about it – if the layout of your warehouse zones and the items stored in each zone don’t make logical sense, you’ll be creating a needless hassle for your employees. And the more hassle they have to deal with, the more discontent they’ll feel. That’s not to mention that an improvement to your layout will lead to greater efficiency, and therefore help your warehouse’s bottom line.
The good news is that there are a number of ways you can improve your warehouse layout. Logistics Bureau suggests such tips as expanding your goods-in section, reviewing your pick paths, rearranging storage locations, and creating more cross-aisles.
And remember, just because a certain warehouse layout works for your competitor, doesn’t mean it is right for yours. The point is to find a layout that works for your particular employees and your warehouse’s needs.
3. Do I make my employees feel genuinely valued?
One of the most effective ways to increase positivity and productivity in your warehouse is to ask yourself if you make your employees feel genuinely valued. Reflecting on your own behavior and actions is a critical step to understanding how you personally impact your employees’ feelings of being valued.
You’ll need to think back on the measures you’ve taken to communicate value to your employees – and the ways in which you may have done the reverse. Of course, the process doesn’t end here. After you’ve done a bit of self-reflection, you’ll need to find out from your employees themselves how they feel about working in your company.
4. Is there more I could be doing to X?
To wrap up, we’ll leave you with one last question to ask yourself about your workplace. But as you may have noticed, it’s not a complete question. That’s because you have to fill in the “X.” Part of being an effective leader is figuring out both the questions and answers to progress your workplace. This process will involve a lot of analysis, reflection, and listening to feedback from employees themselves.
It will require you to ask yourself such questions as, “What is it that could make this workplace thrive, and how can I contribute to getting us there?” and “How can I directly contribute to making this a more positive and productive workplace.”
The question, really, is up to you. It’s about taking responsibility for your position in your workplace. You just need to figure out what the “X” is for you – and once you do, you’ll be one step closer to answering it.