Supply chain inefficiencies result in huge lossesSupply chain management is critical for a business at every stage, but a recent study by workflow performance company Intermec revealed that a vast number of warehouses are losing productivity due to inefficient workplace practices. The study revealed that 30 percent of warehouse managers failed to complete a review of processes in the past year. One in five admitted that they would only investigate their processes after receiving a customer complaint.

This failure to address inefficient warehouse practices could result in the loss of nearly 3,000 hours per year for a company with 50 employees according to the study, and this number could be much larger for businesses with a greater number of employees. This amounts to each worker losing 15 minutes of productivity over the course of an eight hour shift.

"Warehouse managers are faced with significant cost saving challenges, which means they can't afford to let such levels of time wastage continue," said Bruce Stubbs, Intermec's industry marketing director for distribution center operations. "Businesses should be looking at every workflow in detail on a regular basis to claim back the minutes and seconds they need to achieve these savings."

Reasoning behind losses
Participants were divided in explaining their reasoning for the lost time. Twenty-six percent of respondents believed poor inventory control was responsible for the inefficiencies, while 20 percent thought packing and loading were to blame.

Some warehouse managers are taking action to gain better control over their processes and increase worker productivity. Fifty-three percent of survey respondents claimed they were working to improve inventory control. This method was believed to be the best for warehouses looking to improve worker productivity and increase cost savings. Keeping expenses to a minimum is important for respondents, as 79 percent of them claimed to have been asked to find areas in which it would be possible to trim costs.

Plans for the future
While many managers may not have performed reviews in recent months, they seem to have strong ideas about which tactics would make their operations more successful and productive in the future. Eighty-nine percent of respondents believed investing in new technology would help their warehouse enhance its efficiency, and 60 percent agreed that time and money can be saved by making processes simpler by merely a few seconds. For companies looking to increase the productivity of their warehousing operations, these processes may be vital to business cost reduction initiatives.
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