The process of handling work orders has changed significantly over the years. Early management systems had slower technologies and wasted employee time when organizing orders. Today, many companies have made the change to sophisticated processing technologies like Microsoft Dynamics NAV. These new systems optimize work order efficiency by improving productivity, organization and management of work orders. Understanding the work order process is important because even a small miscommunication can result in an order being delivered to the wrong place and not meeting customer specifications or expectations. These are some tips on how to increase warehouse work order efficiency:

Color-coded work order labels
Create a color-coded work order system when organizing and prioritizing clients. This way, delivery drivers and workers will know to be extra careful when organizing and processing the order. Take, for example, a company specializing in lighting fixtures including lamps, chandeliers and LED light bulbs. One of your biggest clients is a home appliance store, and all of its work orders need to be handled correctly. Losing them would result in not only high financial losses, but distrust between supplier and buyer and the risk of not getting future clients. One botched order damages your reputation to deliver work orders correctly. The home appliance store could spread the word that your warehouse is poor at handling work orders, damaging the chances to get more customers in the future.

The home appliance store work orders can have a pink label on them. The order can then be sent to priority shipping, ensuring it is delivered on time and safely. Computer systems can track the pink-labeled items enabling managers to know where the order is at all times.

Color coding also minimizes miscommunication throughout the warehouse because an employee can see a purple-labeled item in an outgoing orange-labeled order and instantly recognize something is wrong. Color-coded systems also help prevent cross-contamination in warehouses dealing with food-related work orders. For example, red-labeled items are normally gluten-free products, and when workers see the red label they know it is to be handled with care and not placed near any products with wheat proteins.

Implement a pick list
According to Supply Chain 247, over 50 percent of labor resources and costs go into picking and shipping orders. Pick lists can be used to control the amount of time it takes to pick a work order. For example, a company sells pots for plants and flowers. In one business day, the same pot could be ordered over a hundred times, but each order has a different quantity. Create a pick list so warehouse employees can go through the warehouse, retrieve the pots and put them in numbered bins all in one trip. Workers who deal with large order quantities will benefit from pick lists because the organization will eliminate the need to make multiple trips throughout the warehouse to get an almost identical order to the one they retrieved a while ago.

Organize the layout according to what ships together
If a warehouse has two items that are typically bought together, storing the items near each other in the warehouse will increase order processing efficiency. This is because item pickers will not have to travel back and forth collecting orders. For example, a company that sells office supplies would frequently receive orders for pencils and pencil sharpeners. Pickers would be able to easily collect all the requirements for the order when these two items are close together in the warehouse.

Companies can download the Features & Benefits: Microsoft Dynamics NAV Service Management white sheet to see how they can improve on the work order management system. 

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