Packaging workstations are the cornerstones of warehouse operations. Processing, collecting and shipping out products and other materials are key functions of any business.
Customizing a packaging workstation is a solution to increasing workplace productivity and employee efficiency. However, certain considerations need to take place before you begin this process. You have to consider ergonomics and comfort, the needs and function of the workstation, and the materials necessary for the workstation to perform at full capacity.
Assess Your Needs and Job Function
Before planning your packaging workstation, you first need to think about what you need to be comfortable at your workstation and what you need to perform your job.
First, write out a list of functions that you hope the workstation will perform. These functions can include:
- Assessing items for quality, such as testing electronic products to make sure they work, or examining the surface of products for defects
- Consolidating orders
- Packing items for maximum protection, such as using bubble cushioning or stuffing a box with kraft paper void fill or air pillows.
- Checking line items on a packing list and making sure there aren’t any missing products
- Printing out labels for addresses
- Placing items aside for pickup from courier services such as UPS or FedEx
Next, think about the process you follow to package an order. Usually, this looks like:
- Packaging the order and consolidating multiple orders if necessary
- Checking the contents of the package against the packing list
- Placing product in protective material and pack
- Printing out shipping labels and addressing the package
- Scheduling pick-up with a courier
- Setting packages aside for pick-up
Once you identify the functions of the workstation, you can begin to design it.
List Necessary Equipment and Materials
After listing the functions of the workstation, think about what materials and space are required for the workstation to operate.
For example, if the workstation will need to consolidate multiple orders, then there should be adequate bench space for this to take place. If you need to print shipping labels, schedule courier services, or check line items on a packing list, you will need a computer and a printer.
Next, list the materials the station will need to function. These can include office supplies and devices, such as computers and scales. These can also include packing supplies such as corrugated boxes, bubble cushioning, packing slip envelopes and carton sealing tape. This will be a helpful reference for when you shop for these materials.
After listing the required equipment and materials, you can design the layout of the packaging workstation. The most efficient packaging stations are in a straight-line packing flow. This means that the layout of the packaging workstation flows from first step from last step.
For example, one end of the packaging station is designated for consolidation and quality control. Directly next to that area is a packing table where you can wrap, package, and seal products. Finally, you label and place the finished package onto a conveyor belt or a pile set aside for courier pick-up.
Using the above model, your station will stay clean and efficient. You will be able to package your products quickly without stumbling over loose void fill or unpacked product.
Think About Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of workplace efficiency. Academics and workplace experts have determined that employee comfort leads to maximum productivity – as such, the packaging workstation must have ergonomic qualities to be as efficient as possible.
Packaging often requires a person to stand for long amounts of time. The workstation should sit at an appropriate, comfortable height for you to work at while standing. Of course, different height settings will work better for different people.
A workstation should be high enough so that you can work while standing without having to hunch over. A low-sitting workstation will put strain on your back. On the other hand, a workstation that is too high will feel awkward to work on. Finding a comfortable height is key to increasing workstation ergonomics. Comfortable anti-fatigue floor mats are also a must for every standing worker. Anti-fatigue mats increase blood flow to the legs for extended user comfort.
You will likely have to handle heavy objects while at a packaging workstation. A custom station should include machinery that can lift these objects onto the workstation surface. This will lessen your risk for back strain and other common on-the-job injuries.
With these tips, you can design an efficient, logical, and comfortable packaging workstation to fit all your warehouse needs.
To find top-quality materials to design your packaging workstation, visit Correct Products today.