Is there anything more repetitive than stacking and counting boxes? Even natural team inventory pros can get bored when every day and week leads to the same routine of counting, checking, retrieving, and restocking. For teams that work regularly with inventory, usually camaraderie goes one of two ways. Either everyone gets a good gripe going when the work gets tedious or they start making up games.
Clever inventory and warehouse managers sometimes introduce a few tasks that make the usual inventory duties a little more interesting. They use these tactics to easily onboard employees new to the stacks. This will also keep your regular team paying attention to duties that can sometimes grow dull. If your team needs a little excitement in the warehouse or restocking store shelves, try implementing one (or more!) of these four ways to make inventory more interesting.
Managing the Morale of Your Team Inventory
Morale on a team doing inventory is all about attitude. Some teams get playful. They whistle and call to each other through the shelves and tell jokes over the radio. Restocking happens in a good mood. Often, more work is done because the time goes by spent with work friends. Team inventory with poor morale often feels isolated when stocking alone and is more likely to find the work tedious.
Morale is essential both for shelf appearance (taking pride in well-aligned products) and to work performance efficiency. By using techniques and even games to boost your team inventory morale, they will work faster, learn the stacks more thoroughly, and make each other happy during the day.
Out-of-Place Item Bingo
How often does your team find an item on the wrong shelf, sometimes clearly placed by someone missing a few marbles? Pick your favorite common occurrences and make a bingo sheet for funny out-of-place item incidents. Give out a price for anyone (or any team) who finds five out-of-place items that match your sheet. Not only will this have team members radioing in to laugh about their finds, but you can also boost enthusiasm for hunting down out-of-place items and restoring the shelves to correctness.
Spot-Check Scavenger Hunt
Need your team to navigate the stacks faster? Initiate rounds of a ‘scavenger hunt’. The team members must use their knowledge of the inventory system to quickly find and scan randomly requested items. This is a great way to onboard new team inventory members who are unfamiliar with the barcode scanner and how to check boxes or enter products into the system. The scavenger hunts let your team practice navigation and scanner use in the same engaging task.
Marco Polo Echolocation
Marco Polo is a game that restocking associates often play when otherwise unsupervised after hours but you can turn it into a team bonding game as well. Encourage your team to call out over the stacks and guess each other’s locations based on where the sound is coming from. You can build a more intimate understanding of the shelving location and encourage a sense of team togetherness, fighting back the isolation that sometimes overcomes team members when restocking a shelf alone.
Relay Race Restocking
Need to move products onto (or off of) the shelves quickly? Start a relay race. Have one person or team pull the items and load the palette. The next delivers the palette and removes the outer packaging and the final team loads boxes onto the shelf. The relay race approach builds teamwork and can streamline an emergency or rushed restock. Once your team is practiced at the relay method, they may even independently start relay-stocking for fun and to finish sooner.