As a warehouse manager or business owner, you’re always looking for ways to make your business run more efficiently. What you may not know is that keeping your warehouse organized with pallet racking can actually make your business more profitable in the long run.
So how do you organize a warehouse efficiently? Layout, proper pallet racking and rack systems, space optimization, material handling, labeling, and technology are just a few of the organizational areas you’ll want to consider.
Profiling Your Orders
If you haven’t heard of the ABC Analysis of Inventory method for sorting your inventory, we highly recommend using it for organization. The ABC method works by categorizing your warehouse into three categories:
- A-Items – Bestselling, don’t take up a lot of space, etc.
- B-Items – Mid-range, regular sellers that perhaps take up more space than A-items.
- C-Items – The rest of your inventory.
By having your A-Items in the best location, you can effectively reduce travel time for your pickers and expedite the shipping process. For some businesses, this may change seasonally, so we recommend reviewing your setup at least once a year.
Maximize Vertical Space
Depending on how much inventory you have, it may feel like you sometimes don’t have enough room for all of your products. By using proper warehouse racking organization and storing your products vertically, you can carry a lot more inventory. This is especially useful if you have a small warehouse or can’t afford to buy more storage space. Adding vertical space can also can give you and your employees a lot more space to navigate.
Optimize Aisle Space
Speaking of space for navigation, organizing your warehouse will ensure your inventory doesn’t overflow into your aisles and cause hazards for your employees. Moving products around with your forklifts can sometimes require some expert maneuvering, so having more space in your aisles makes this much easier. As a result, you may drastically reduce product handling times.
Eliminate Traffic Barriers & Bottle Necks
Have you ever been stuck in traffic just because there was one barrier blocking the road? If so, you know that that can happen in your warehouse as well. It may seem obvious, but removing traffic barriers or possible bottlenecks from your warehouse can save a lot of time when it comes to retrieving inventory. From loose shipping materials to leftover boxes, keeping traffic areas clear will avoid any backups or delays in travel time. Also make sure that there’s nothing stacked in front of inventory that would keep employees from fulfilling orders in a timely manner.
Re-Evaluate Your Floor Plan
This may seem like an overwhelming task, but re-evaluating the floor plan of your warehouse and rearranging it may help you when organizing your warehouse. Receiving, shipping, packing, storage, and an office are probably the minimum work areas that you have. Keeping these areas well defined can help create a safer work environment by avoiding crossovers with workflow. Also, it doesn’t hurt to ask your employees where there are current annoyances, since they’ll likely benefit most from a floor plan overhaul.
Optimize Process for Receiving Inventory
The warehouse workflow process all starts with receiving products and material handling. How you optimize your inventory receiving will affect the rest of your workflow process. We recommend automating your unloading process using a forklift. Even if you have a smaller warehouse or only have lesser amounts of inventory, you can always rent a forklift whenever you need to unload and speed up the process. Also, make sure you have enough space in your receiving area and good quality control procedures to make receiving run more smoothly.
Create Designated Spaces within Your Warehouse and Label Them
It may seem overly nit-picky, but you must label everything in your warehouse. This doesn’t just mean product names and SKUs, but also work areas. A good practice is to use floor markings to create designated spaces to effectively and safely communicate paths and work stations. This can help traffic flow and keep employees safe from any accidents. Labeling equipment and adding signage to your warehouse floor can also decrease any confusion or possible work-related accidents.
Article used with permission from Sam’s Mechanical. www.samsmechanical.com