5 Quick End-of-Year Ideas for Productivity Gains | FORTNA

5 Quick End-of-Year Ideas
for Productivity Gains

In a challenging economy, warehouses can employ smaller, impactful warehouse-ready projects that can dramatically improve operations.

by Chris Zimmerman

As we approach the end of 2023, operations will focus on increasing productivity, becoming more efficient and being ready for growth. While organizations research investment in large-scale automation, there are smaller projects an operation can implement in a short time that can be integrated quickly and have an impact on a warehouse operation.

These smaller, warehouse-ready projects can help boost order fulfillment times, throughput, and system reliability. Using a phased approach, funds realized through cost reduction and labor savings from the first project could help fund the next automation step. In this FORTNA blog, we will review five quick end-of-year ideas geared toward productivity gains in the warehouse.

1.  Picking Process Adjustment

One area of an operation that can see tremendous improvement in productivity and order fulfillment speed is the picking process. Going from a single order picking scheme to zone, pick and pass or wave picking can dramatically increase order time and reduce labor needs. Working with a supply chain partner like FORTNA can help an operation decide what picking methodology best fits their operation today and into the future and how to integrate it efficiently. To learn more about various picking methodologies, read this recent FORTNA blog.


2.  System Health Check

One way to ensure that your current system is running optimally is to have an outside third party perform a system health check or assessment of the warehouse system. FORTNA’s Lifecycle Performance Services team can come on-site to assess an operation’s processes as well as mechanical and electrical equipment to ensure its reliability. This check can also discover premature part wear, gaps in maintenance and identify root cause issues with reoccurring problems. The system health check will identify critical issues that need immediate attention, optimization opportunities, and productivity and process improvements.

3. Automated Labeling and Sealing

When embarking on an automation journey, a phased approach can be the most logical way of breaking down single points of the operation and automating them one at a time. Automating a physically draining and repetitive task can make a dramatic difference, as labor can be redirected to other needs and the accuracy and speed of the task are improved. Print and apply (PandA) and box sealing automation are well-established solutions that can increase order fulfillment time and shipping accuracy. Working with a supply chain partner, an operation can analyze and select the best-fit technology and help increase the speed of integration.


4.  Slotting Software

One of the most budget-friendly and easy first steps into automation is employing slotting software. Slotting is the practice of placing high-velocity SKUs and items that are likely to be ordered together in easily accessible areas so they can be picked faster, which increases order fulfillment time and productivity. The advantage of slotting software, such as FORTNA OptiSlot DC™, is that the integration time can be measured in weeks instead of months. The software can be used stand-alone and does not need integration into other software or systems.

5.  Spare Parts Management

One of the leading reasons for downtime in a warehouse is mismanagement of the warehouse’s spare parts. It’s also one of the most easily solved problems. FORTNA parts specialists can assist in determining and ordering OEM and replacement parts and ensure that the system will have the critical spare parts it needs. The FORTNA parts team can also help identify your system’s custom recommended spare parts list (RSPL) and help manage parts needs and replenishment throughout the year.


Using a phased approach to warehouse-ready projects can relieve the financial strain of a sizable capital expenditure while still delivering a shorter return on investment, productivity gains and cost reductions. FORTNA and its team of experts can assist with any-sized automation projects as well as build a sound business case for a phased, incremental approach.

About the author


Chris Zimmerman

Global Marketing Director

Chris Zimmerman is the Global Marketing Director for FORTNA and has been in the material handling industry for 20+ years. Chris has been active in the industry serving in many different roles, as well as being a host and frequent guest on industry podcasts.