The warehouse is an integral part of a business. It is the heart of a supply chain. Thus, it is crucial to ensure the efficiency of the warehouse.
A warehouse that runs smoothly will help the company save a lot of money by avoiding unnecessary costs. A well-thought warehouse leads to more productivity among the workers, resulting in better service and customer satisfaction.
Optimizing your warehouse operations starts with fixing the layout and organization. It is not an easy task. It requires a good amount of effort and knowledge regarding the different processes of the supply chain. It also involves participation from your workers, so supervision and training are needed.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We have gathered here the best practices from the experts in the industry. Think about how you can implement them; however, it is convenient for you.
Define the Zones
Dividing your facility into zones makes it a lot easier for pickers to do their job. It allows them to identify where they will get a particular item quickly. Your warehouse must be divided into zones, rows, and bays, and their combination defines a specific location. You may also have sublocations in each location, for smaller items.
Avoid mixing several SKUs in the same bin.
Experts have concluded that mixing several SKUs in the same bin reduces picking productivity by a significant amount by performing time and motion studies. Under this configuration, the workers take a lot more time to get the items, adding up to 15 seconds in each transaction. Not only that, but it also increases the risk of human error because the pickers will have to search through the different SKUs for the item that needs to be picked.
Maximize the space above
Instead of expanding the current floor area of your warehouse, use the area above. Many companies think they need to move to a bigger facility, but in reality, they haven’t utilized their current space to its full potential just yet. The warehouse floor area is a precious commodity. Each square foot is valuable. By adding storage units above, you can have more storage space for the same floor area. It may involve investing in new equipment such as taller shelves and new forklifts; it will still be a lot cheaper than moving into a new warehouse.
Utilize all the floor area you have
Your goal must be to fit as much inventory as possible in your current space. There must be no wasted space. Implement narrow aisle storage inside your warehouse so you can add more shelves. You may utilize equipment designed for narrow aisles such as wire-guided forklifts to access the products there. Just make sure there is still enough area to maneuver in each aisle.
Optimize the workflow
The flow of goods inside your warehouse must be streamlined. It means that there must be no obstructions of any kind. Declutter the warehouse regularly to make sure there are no obstacles that can slow down your workers during operations. It reduces the risk of accidents, which is hugely beneficial both for the business and your employees. The pickers must always be trained to take the shortest path and be as accurate as possible. But since errors cannot be completely removed, you may also identify a space for incorrectly picked items for the packers so that the pickers may retrieve them efficiently.
Re-slot if needed
Your most in-demand products are likely to change over time. It implies that you may have to change your product slotting once in a while to maximize your workers’ time. Re-slotting involves a lot of work, but this is worth it. About 60% of a picker’s working hours are spent in travel time. By putting the hot items closer to the packaging area, you can reduce this. Don’t be afraid of re-slotting. Always weigh the pros and cons of re-slotting when you see a change in your products’ demand.
A Final Word About Improving Your Warehouse Organization and Layout
Warehousing is a tedious job. Many companies fall into the trap of having a disorganized warehouse and lose time and money without even knowing it. You can prevent this from happening by continually evaluating your warehouse operations and implementing some of the methods we have listed here.