Many people underestimate warehouse management. Supply chain management sounds serious but warehousing is something you can do with one hand is an old idea.
Nothing could be more wrong. With e-commerce and omni-channel warehousing is one of the most complex operations in supply chain. Warehousing is no longer about keeping things in order, it’s a production unit about storing and delivering with as little “touches” as possible and to keep the costs as low as possible with as high quality as possible. That is not an easy task if you have for example 20 000 items in stock and more than 250 suppliers.
Warehousing is all about efficiency and keeping the costs as low as possible with quality as high as possible, you almost need to be a magician if you want to be a successful warehouse manager.
Maybe you can’t be a magician but you need to have multi talent if you going to be a successful leader in warehousing. It is not enough anymore to be a great leader or a master in technology. You need to have competence in both areas. You need to have the skills to adapt new innovations in WMS, hardware, automation, etc and to sell these innovations to your staff and senior management. And you should also have great competence in lean to adapt the flow for automation and WMS and to reduces “touches”
Many warehouse managers I have met have either great skills in leadership or great skills in technology or lean but it is rare to find a manager with both leadership skills and great skills in technology and lean.
Those leaders who have all the qualities are very valuable. They can get the maximum of a modern warehouse. Satisfied staff that use their minds with the latest technology and help of lean can do wonders! Great leaders that understand the potential in their staff and listen to their ideas and also can adapt the latest technology to get the best efficiency is rare.
If you have a multi-talented warehouse leader be sure to keep him or her! Warehousing is not about using the whip to make the staff running as fast as possible or investing in the latest technology to keep the costs low! It is about motivating your staff and use the whole potential in lean together with the most optimal technology for your flow!
Multi-talent is the key word for the modern warehouse management, remember that!