5 Ways to Enhance Communications in Your Factory or Warehouse

It’s not easy to keep open lines of communication inside today’s vast warehouses. In fact, when you consider that some modern warehouses span more than 25,000 square feet, it’s no longer effective to use traditional means of communicating.

With employees physically so far apart, how do you help them communicate while staying efficient? Let’s take a look at the various ways you can solve this problem.

Install a PA System
Managers and supervisors need a method for communicating with all employees. There are times for one-to-one communication. There are also situations when it’s better for everyone in the building to hear the same message. Using a PA or intercom system in these situations makes the most sense.

Wireless PA systems exist that make it easy to make announcements or coordinate with your employees at the same time. Situations that might cause this need include:

  • Training sessions
  • Emergencies
  • General announcements

There are various types of PA systems that come with varying levels of reach. For example, some systems allow you to reach as far as two miles out. It all depends on the size of your warehouse, how many speakers are needed and how many employees work in the building.

Once your PA system is installed, make sure to set chain-of-command procedures in place. In order to prevent false alarms or overuse, set rules for who has access to using the system. This might be restricted to the following departments:

  • Management
  • Quality assurance
  • Security
  • Human resources

Provide Wearable GPS Devices
One of the best ways to keep your warehouse staff efficient is knowing where they are at all times. This is where providing wearable GPS devices to employees comes in. These devices keep track of where each person is inside the warehouse.

GPS devices are easily carried on the wrist or hip. Using this technology allows supervisors to locate any needed employees immediately. This will help your managers more efficiently delegate duties based on whether employees are near areas needing help.

Who are the best people to distribute these wearable GPS devices to?
It’s probably a good idea to equip new employees or employees not tied to specific departments first. This way, new people get helped and directed more effectively and non-specific department employees get directed to areas in need of help more quickly. Giving these devices to supervisors and managers is also a good idea. It will allow other management staff to quickly locate them.

Use Radios and Phones
Consider equipping warehouse staff with their own smartphones. Mobile devices are another great communication tool that solves the need for getting in touch with employees who are on the other end of the building.

On the other hand, don’t forget about the advantages of two-way radios in comparison to the mobile phone option. Since radios don’t require ringing, voicemails or dialing, they make for a more direct connection to the person on the other end of the line.

Compared to cell phones, radios are also more durable inside the rugged world of warehouse work. Emergency situations might also make the radio solution the best option. If your cell networks are compromised in any way, calls might not get through. Two-way radios will still work in that situation.

Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of cell phones versus radios. Then, make your decision regarding which option seems to be the best solution for connecting your warehouse employees.

Implement Cloud-Based Software
Is it time to get rid of the old-fashioned clipboards? The answer is most likely a resounding “yes”. Today’s world requires precision when keeping track of inventory. A solution is using cloud-based software to communicate stock data from department to department.

Electronic point-of-sale (EPOS) systems are a way to put this communication solution into action. An EPOS system isn’t just a good fit for accepting sales orders. Your warehouse employees can also use it for sending order reminders, surveying stock levels and keeping track of quarterly sales.

The benefits to using inventory management software include:

  • Avoid missing important orders dates
  • Organize workflows
  • Prevent inventory shortages

Establish a Leadership Structure
Effective communication involves more than simply using new tools or technology. Instead, you need to put regular in-person check-ins and chain-of-command protocols in place.

Make sure each day starts with in-person department-wide meetings so everyone is on the same page with that day’s goals and objectives. A chain-of-command that is clearly outlined and structured helps all employees know who to go to when issues arise.

Don’t let strict deadlines, needed department coordination or client demands turn the warehouse environment into a stressful one. Effective communication strategies will turn your warehouse into a well-oiled machine.

Adam Torkildson