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In our experience, a ratio of one supervisor to 12–15 staff members is the optimum. Any higher and supervision becomes less effective, whilst any lower and costs increase and there is more onus on the supervisor to assist in the tasks. This is not always a bad thing as it provides the supervisor with a greater insight into the job at hand and facilitates progression. However, it can reduce overall effectiveness.

A recent survey carried out by Cranfield University (Baker and Perotti 2008) showed the average number of operators per supervisor were as follows:

  • small warehouse (<10,000 s...