Achieving warehouse productivity may often seem like an unattainable task. But with the right processes in place, it is definitely achievable. One step towards optimal warehouse productivity is to introduce task interleaving. Task interleaving takes multi-step, complimentary tasks and consolidates them into a single workflow. Then the software assigned tasks for warehouse staff. These warehouse tasks could include:
Picking (Wave, Directed, Distributed)
Interleaving helps to achieve efficiency throughout the work day. It allows workers to complete replenishments, put-aways and picks simultaneously. Here are a few examples of how task interleaving can generate productivity gains:
1) End Non-Productive Activities
Did you know up to 55% of order picking time is spent traveling? Also called “deadheading”, this traveling wastes time without completing any useful tasks. But task interleaving combines picking tasks to reduce deadheading.
For example, in a traditional warehouse, a worker picks products and drops them off at a dock. Then they return to the picking area without performing any useful tasks along the way. One of the biggest benefits of task interleaving is the reduction of non-productive tasks.
2) Manage Labor Costs
In a competitive market, companies must keep costs down to gain full efficiency. Managing labor costs is another benefit that will impact long-term growth. Productivity improves, but costs stay down. A complete Task Management solution, including task interleaving, can collect and track task data. As a result, the software lets you know when and where tasks are completed, and by whom.
3) End Manual Efforts
Manual methods are time-consuming and prone to errors. Having task management software in place lessens manual work. Also, workers are free to pursue more productive tasks without slowing down operations. Automate put-away, replenishment, order picking and cycle counting. Thus, the right software makes paper lists and reporting a thing of the past.
4) Automate the Flow of Information
Keeping track of information may be hectic and difficult, especially during busy seasons. With task management software, this process becomes automated and much easier to handle.
By automating data collection, you can end manual tasks and decrease errors. So your data is always accurate. Also, it becomes easier to measure productivity and identify areas for improvement.
The ultimate goal is maximum efficiency. Having measurable outcomes in place puts your goal within reach. These are just some of the benefits of task interleaving in warehouses or distribution centers. Task interleaving can be part of a larger warehouse management system (WMS), or used as a stand-alone solution.