There are Many Ways to Prepare for the New Year
The end of every year is a particularly busy one for those working in the manufacturing or distribution industry. After all, this is when the majority of the public is doing their holiday shopping and preparing for the new year. The National Retail Federation predicted that consumers would spend almost $730 billion over the holiday season. Many shoppers don’t conclude their holiday shopping until Christmas is almost here. In 2018, 52% of shoppers didn’t buy their last Christmas gift until five days before Christmas Day.
Even though the holiday season is incredibly hectic for many distributors around the country, it is extremely important for them to make sure that their warehouse is ready for the new year. As a warehouse operator, you need to ensure that your warehouse’s processes, technology, and equipment are in peak shape before the beginning of the new year. Often, how you start a year can set the tone for how the rest of the year goes.
Every year brings its share of obstacles, even in the early stages of it. You need to be sure your operations are ready to handle even the slightest of inconveniences to ensure your business doesn’t fall behind early in the year.
Ace Equipment is here to provide you with some tips to help you get your warehouse ready for the new year.
Review Your Warehouse Layout
The foundation for ensuring your warehouse operates at the highest level of productivity is reviewing your layout. You should examine each area of your warehouse, including receiving, inventory, and shipping. You want to make sure that after the holiday season, they are prepared to handle any increase in business at the beginning of the year.
An important aspect of reviewing your layout is taking a look at the flow of materials through your warehouse. After you have taken a thorough look at the layout of your warehouse, examine how materials travel through it. By analyzing material flow, you can better understand the efficiency of your warehouse. Are there extra steps that are slowing down productivity? If so, remove them. You can save plenty of time and money by eliminating these steps, ensuring your material flow is fluid and quick.
Nobody likes doing inventory. It’s a tedious and time-consuming task that saps the energy right out of you. However, it is crucial to the productivity of your warehouse, especially after the busy holiday season. As you may know, shipments don’t always arrive when they should, products get incorrectly shipped out, and products can be incorrectly organized throughout the warehouse.
Before the new year begins, you should go through your entire warehouse and conduct an inventory count. Give yourself and your employees a solid starting point for the beginning of the year, providing workers with an accurate look at what is in stock. Also, inventory gives you a chance to properly organize your products. Occasionally, products will end up in places they shouldn’t be and conducting inventory allows you to put things where they need to be.
Use Data to Predict Business
You more than likely have a record of all of the shipments and sales your business has done over the past couple of years. By using this information, you can predict how well your business will do in the upcoming year. The data you have from the current holiday season and the early months of years past can give you plenty of insight into how well you will do in the coming months.
Using these projections, you can get your warehouse and employees better prepared. You may need to make new hires or keep on some seasonal employees. You may need to add new equipment. Predicting your business for the New Year allows you to better prepare.
Create a Warehouse Cleaning Plan
Keeping your warehouse clean seems obvious. However, far too often do businesses let their workspace become cluttered and dirty. Through the holiday season, your warehouse will typically see far more traffic than usual. Because of this, you’ll likely have very little chance to thoroughly clean it. However, once the season starts to slow down, you should create a plan to consistently keep your warehouse clean year-round.
Dirty workspaces lower productivity and put your workers at risk. Instead of taking one day to thoroughly clean your warehouse every few weeks, create a plan to regularly clean it. Include daily sweeping and dusting, regular maintenance, and much more. Make sure to spread responsibilities to your entire crew to ensure no one person feels overwhelmed.
NOTE: It’s still important to include days where you thoroughly deep clean your warehouse.
Complete All Maintenance
When your operations are running smoothly, it can be easy to ignore system and equipment maintenance until they fail on you. It’s important to be proactive in your maintenance instead of risking letting a breakdown slow production in the future. Before the year begins, do a thorough maintenance test on all of your systems and equipment, including:
- Software Systems
- Company Vehicles
If there are any systems or equipment that have the potential to break down, conduct maintenance to ensure your new year starts with no worries.
As time goes by, your staff may have gotten set in their ways. While they may have gone about their days doing everything exactly how they were trained, they may have found ways around certain aspects of their job. It may not seem like much, but these changes can have an impact on your business. Your level of production may be reduced, the safety of your employees may be at risk, and much more.
Take the time before the new year to retrain your staff. Make sure to refresh them on how they are expected to complete their jobs and their expectations. If you have any new equipment, make sure they know how to properly use it. If they need to operate forklifts or other heavy machinery, make sure they have the appropriate certifications.
With the year coming to an end, many businesses are preparing themselves for the new year. There are countless ways you can set your warehouse up for success in the coming year. Ace Equipment is here to help you get you and your business in the best shape heading into 2020.