“Warehouses are complex structures that need to be co-ordinated well. Active communication becomes crucial to maximise operational output.”
The traditional warehousing has been fragmented and unorganised in terms of operational procedures. The average size of warehouses increased from 10,000 sq. ft. in 2000 to 75,000 sq. ft. in 2017, giving way to modern warehousing. The logistics and industrial space leasing has increased by 45% in 2018 as reported by the leading real estate firms. E-commerce, retail, manufacturing and 3PL have been amongst the major organisations who leased 75% of these spaces. Today, warehouses need to be much more organised and integrated. Technological advancements have made it possible for the warehousing staff to co-ordinate in an effective way. The need for faster communication is emerging as one of the most important factor to meet the timelines.
At every level of the warehousing system, from managers to ground staff, functional coherence reduces delays and discrepancies. Multi-warehouse facilities, ecommerce and growing distribution centres require better time efficiency which could be achieved only by faster communication.The lack of effective communication could lead to unproductive systems, errors, delays and inefficient use of resources. This could lead to several bigger losses for businesses that includes customer dissatisfaction and declining reputation. Clarity on questions like whom to contact at the time of an emergency or who is the person in-charge for a particular task needs to be ensured to avoid chaos.
In modern warehousing systems, technological advancements like tracking and scanning of products through RFID, use of robotics and automation for sorting and dispatching the products have reduced the cost and time consumption and have increased the operational efficiency. This means manual involvement has reduced creating a need for stronger communication channels that can maximise the output. Wearable devices with GPS trackers can also help in locating ground staff at the time of requirement which could be difficult otherwise, as the warehouse spaces are complex.
“The smoothness of a process within a warehouse is defined by the strength of the communication. Thus, the entire framework of communication should include all the members responsible for completing a particular process.”
Connectivity within the warehouses through various devices should be planned and streamlined. Traditionally , loudspeakers were a method that have now been discarded due to the advent of more effective solutions like voice directed picking followed by multi modal speech-directed options. Digital platforms that integrate the warehouse procedures and bring every information to a single accessible point have made it possible to manage the tasks at every stage. All the involved members can monitor the progress of the shipment and can help in solving the problems whenever required.
Intra- departmental and intra-level communication becomes important for managers within a warehouse. The communication needs to be set up in the culture of the organisation with a welcoming and positive outlook. The staff should be able to easily reach out to the supervisors in case of any uncertain situation where decision making is required. Active communication can be helpful in avoiding errors and mismanagement. It is difficult for managers to check every detail on a daily basis which is why it becomes important to train and guide the operative staff, well in advance, for various different scenarios that might create hindrance. The staff should be motivated to take ownership of their tasks on the warehouse floor. They should also be involved in the feedback loop as they are the ones who deal with the daily challenges. Insights from their feedbacks could be beneficial for improving the operational efficiency. The entire staff should also be updated with the latest changes in the procedures and policies of the warehouse.
Warehouse management is built upon one-to-one as well as mass communication that can help in running the processes smoothly. The channel of command, point of contacts should be structured and all the staff should be on the same page. Modern warehousing can be catered by modernising the communication strategies and effectively implementing them within the warehouse ecosystem.