First, you forgot to include time for employees to receive and put away stock. This can be as time consuming as pulling and packaging orders.
I use to work in several large distribution centers. I also ran several small warehousing operations. At one of the distribution centers, we shipped out an average of four truck loads of freight per day. We had a crew of five to handle receiving, shipping and customer returns.
We were able to pull and put away stock fairly fast though because of our inventory program. It broke locations down into high and low shelfing locations. It then printed out all the low locations per order on one pick ticket and high locations on another ticket. This allowed for more efficient use of equipment. We had two men with pallet jacks pulling all the low shelving locations. And two using cherry picker forklifts to pull the high shelving locations.
One person did the receiving. And, the warehouse manager consolidated the orders. He did the quality control inspections at the same time. All this activity was done in the morning.
Then we moved three people to the packing and manifesting line after lunch. Each packing station had overhead bins for "pop corn" packing material. Each station also had several different types of tape dispenser and paper dispenser.
There was a manual conveyor belt that ran down one side of the packing line. It terminated at the manifesting station. Usually the warehouse manager or a warehouseman ran the manifesting station.
The person doing the manifesting also loaded packages onto pre-assigned pallets. Once the pallets were done, they were moved to a shrink wrap station a short distance away. This station was near the loading dock.
I should mention that our corporate headquarters allot a total of eight employees for this distribution center. This was to accommodate people taking off sick or vacation leaves. The warehouse manager chose not to hire the additional people because he received a large bonus for bringing the warehouse in under budget each year. But, he also ran the risk of loosing productivity by running a skeleton crew. His plan called on nobody being sick, on vacation or quitting.
As far as training, it took an average of 2.5 months to train a new employee. We cross trained in every job function because we were short handed.
Since you are just starting out, you might also want to consider a 3rd party (3P) warehousing operation. These companies handle all your warehousing needs and you supply the product. It`s cost affective from the stand point you don`t have to lease a warehouse or maintain it. Also, you share the labor cost with other companies that are using the same 3P warehouse.
Another option is to lease a warehouse. You then contract out the operation to another company. Like hiring contract security, there are contract warehousing companies. For a fee, they supply the staff and management. You supply product and a building.
You can also speed things up and reduce cost by cross docking some items. The items are received in one door and go directly out to the load dock after being received in and labeled.
You can find out by going to InBound Logistics. This is a wonderful site if you are looking for information on warehousing. They also make a magazine.
Hope this helps.
nevadascul5/3/2009 2:30 PM
The older we get, the more excuses we make for not chasing after our dreams. But truth is, goals are attainable at any age.