A warehouse that does not utilize metrics cannot be managed to its full potential. Metrics are a great way to identify where improvements can be made in current processes, expose serious problems, and inform staff members of their work performance. However, with so many factors involved in warehousing, how does one know what needs to be measured? Some of the most common things that are measured in warehouses are operations costs, employee productivity, and inventory accuracy. But why stop there? To help improve your warehouse operations here is another item that could use some measuring:

Cycle time metrics

A cycle is a series of events that are regularly repeated in the same order. Here is an example of what a warehouse cycle may look like:

warehouse cycle

This seems simple enough, right? A defined process can be useful when training others and strategizing. By recording the time it takes to complete each step in this process, one could identify and isolate any issues which slow down operations and improve them. The smallest errors can have a larger effect on the entire cycle process and impact profitability. Items can be stored incorrectly, inventory counts can be off, and common mistakes can slow down the entire cycle. The result may look something like this:

Cycle time warehouse

Layering Cycles

The generalized warehouse cycle shown above could be further expanded so that each step has its own cycle process. In theory, this concept can be iterated an infinite number of times and the smallest problems in the process can be isolated and fixed. However, the most common Cycle times can be broken down into three types: internal cycle times, dock to load time, and total cycle time.

Using metrics as a method to improve processes could prove to be valuable to any distribution center. However, don’t just stop at measuring your cycle times! There are much more aspects of the warehouse industry that can benefit from the use of metrics.

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