How Warehouses Avoid “Bottleneck” Issues

Two Warehouse colleagues standing togetherWhat’s a bottleneck? It’s the point in production flow where everything slows down… compared to the activity that preceded it. Want a classic example of a bottleneck instance at a warehouse? Picture this: a conveyor belt is running, and it has plenty of boxes on it. For some reason, the packers who are supposed to receive the boxes at the end of the line go on their lunch break, but someone forgets to shut down the belt. They come back to a floor full of boxes in a pile and have to clean them up and figure out what to do with them all… that’s a definite bottleneck.

If and when a bottleneck happens, productivity slows down or stops. And employees grumble. This means they’re going to have to wait and/or handle a mess– more work for them.

If warehouses want to avoid bottleneck instances, then the powers-that-be should know the main causes of bottlenecks and how to deal with them.

Ways to Deal With Bottleneck Issues

Take manpower, for instance. If warehouse workers aren’t efficient, their part of the process can slow down or stop the entire operation. Maybe they’re put on the line without proper training. Or maybe they don’t have the right tool(s) to do the job. Workers can cause bottlenecks.

What about machines and technology? As much as we hope computers don’t fail, sometimes they do. And when there are issues with “system compatibility,” “glitches,” or “the machine overheated and shut itself down,” then you’ve got bottlenecks.

Poor organization and inefficient layout of inventory are also reasons for bottlenecks that could be prevented with better planning and oversight.

Some of the solutions for solving bottleneck instances include training and hiring more people, testing and maintaining machinery and technology regularly, and making the most purchased products the most easily accessible within the warehouse.

The less bottlenecks a warehouse has, the more efficient it will be.

If you’re looking for a reliable warehousing partner, learn how Affiliated Warehouse Companies can help.