General Warehouse Organization Tips & Ideas
Warehouses play a vital role in supply chains. An efficient and lean warehouse helps a business to run efficiently, which is why warehouse organization can often result in the make or the break of the bottom-line of any business. A design for a warehouse that is effective would definitely include space and layout optimization, yet it should also include warehouse racking and labeling, designated receiving and picking areas, and warehouse management technology and software systems. The warehouses that are well-organized and clean are always prepared for receiving merchandise, shipping, and loading containers, preparing orders, and ensuring customer satisfaction.
1. Make Sure Your Warehouse Stays Clean
Allocating a few hours every week, or in some cases every month to clean your warehouse can result in a significant improvement to your overall efficiency. You might even find misplaced or missing orders. Additionally, a warehouse that is clean will mean that your employees are able to move around freely and get everything done quicker and easier. It just makes sense.
2. Implement Lean Inventory Practices
When you maintain an inventory that is lean it translates into keeping only what is needed in the warehouse. This also means that your workers will have fewer products that they need to go through when they are completing your order fulfillments, organizing freights, and more. You can start by decreasing safety stocks when possible, or find out if your suppliers are able to deliver more frequently or deliver loads that are smaller. Provided your costs are adding up correctly, it becomes possible to dramatically improve your overall efficiency when you have a leaner inventory.
3. Keep Clutter To A Minimum
A messy or unorganized warehouse is an indication to employees, suppliers, and visitors that you are not running an efficient warehouse. It could also give off a sign that you are losing potential revenue, your warehouse workers are overwhelmed, and it could also give off the impression that the morale of the company is suffering.
4. Rethink Space & Shelf Use
When you are trying to adopt ways in which to improve how efficiently your warehouse runs, you should look into understanding how your spaces and shelves are being used. The placement of your containers and shelves, the general traffic patterns, along with the overall design of your building will have an impact on your abilities to use any space that is available.
5. Plan For Safety
Safety should be one of your first priorities in a warehouse, and once this space is safe you can start thinking about efficiency. You want to avoid risking the safety of the workers in your warehouse in order to increase your overall profit margins. It is a fact that warehouses that are safe run smoother and are more efficient.
6. Minimize The Shipping Containers
Reducing the shipping containers that are used in your warehouse may appear to be a minor step towards streamlining your operations, yet it is important to increase the productivity of your workers. You might be under the impression that having a number of different shipping container shapes and sizes can help you to eliminate waste, yet in most cases, it also slows down your staff who have to select the right container size for specific products.
7. Customize Your Organization According To Your Industry
All organization systems need to be customized according to the specific industry of the business. In some cases, several items are shipped at once to one destination, and keeping these items in one area will help your staff to locate the entire shipment a lot faster before it is loaded onto a truck.
8. Aim To Create An Accurate & Clean Warehouse
Your employees, visitors, and suppliers will appreciate and notice how clean you keep your warehouse. Everything should be labeled as well as arranged on your shelves so that it is easy to access and find. Your workers should also be cleaning their workstation areas when they are finished work for the day. This promotes the appearance of cleanliness to carriers that arrive to collect orders. It also becomes easier to find what you are looking for.
9. Keep A Record Of Inventory Error Rates
Even in organized and efficient warehouses, there will be pick-and-pack errors that arise every now and again. When you keep a record of the types of mistakes that have been made along with how often they occur, often provides important insights into the areas that may require improvements.
10. Organize Your Shipping Station For Efficiency
Set a timer on how long it takes you to pick one of your products for shipment. Are all your tape, packaging materials, and scissors kept together and easy to access? Are your boxes in the correct place? Did you find a significant amount of having to physically backtrack throughout the process? Or is the assembly streamlined? Are there areas where you can cut the steps down, figuratively and literally in order to save money and time.
11. Utilize Stackable Shelf Bins
The shelf bins that are stackable are an efficient solution when it comes to storage for small parts. Your warehouse pickers are able to use these shelf bins to not only organize but also access the small products which are popular and in high-demand. Your warehouse departments can also benefit from them as the stackable and smaller shelf bins are easy to store on shelves or desks.
12. Train Your Warehouse Staff Regularly
There are 2 factors required in order to maintain an organized warehouse. The first is to make sure your warehouse staff undergoes regular training on how important it is to keep a warehouse organized. The second involves how to use the tools that are in place in order to maintain an up-to-date inventory system. Maintaining an organized warehouse will form a part of your corporate culture as soon as it becomes one of the subjects of training sessions that have been made mandatory.
13. Keep Like Items Together
Do you have 10 different office chair types in your inventory? It is important to ensure that when searching for items that your workers know that once they have located one of these office chairs they have also found the entire inventory of chairs.
14. Do Away With Non-Value Added Actions
The process of achieving a lean warehouse is made up of a consistent pursuit to eliminate waste. Review all your processes every 6 months to a year to make sure steps that are unnecessary have not crept in. You should also review your product mix in order to make sure that new and popular items are stored closer to the front. If your warehouse comes equipped with data-collection, you need to ensure there are more than enough stations. These stations should also be positioned in such a way that your workers are able to perform these transaction entries with ease. Check on open orders and shortages when materials arrive, to stop the team from putting it away followed by picking it again.
15. Use Cycle Counts
Rather than having one large inventory count each year, use an efficient cycle-counting system which will mean your inventory is counted once or twice in any given cycle. These cycles could be every month, every two months, every quarter, or any time period of your choosing. This will mean that your inventory numbers are more accurate, and help to identify putaway errors or missing stock.