With customer demand constantly shifting, keeping that supply chain unbroken can be a very challenging task. You will stumble upon obstacles every step of the way – from overstocking the wrong items and relying on the paperwork to keep warehouse operations running smoothly to understocking your shelves with the most sought-after items.
To make sure your storage management doesn’t result in trapped capital or unsatisfied customers, follow our five tips for organizing your warehouse.
- Create and analyze your floor plan
- Decide on your shelving solutions
- Label everything
- Make the most from available technologies
- Track and analyze your key performance indicators (KPIs)
Let’s stock up those shelves!
1. Create and analyze your floor plan
A floor plan is a technical drawing or blueprint of your warehouse that will help you outline the following aspects of your storage facility:
- Warehouse space utilization
- Production zones and workflow areas
- Storage areas and aisle spacing
- Packing and shipping workspace
- Equipment storage
A clear picture of your warehouse layout will help you identify the main opportunities for space optimization, such as:
- Defining unproductive aisles
- Utilizing overhead storage space
- Making the most use of vertical space
- Creating room for high-density shelving units
- Optimizing the steps of your pickers
- Identifying the need for cross aisles
Analyzing your floor plan will not only help you utilize every inch of your storage space, but will also allow you to streamline your warehouse operations, create a more effective workforce, and boost your productivity overall.
2. Choose your shelving solutions
When it comes to shelving, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. This is why we will list the six most common storage systems and explain what their best uses are.
- Carousel storage system – a great option for warehouses with limited ceiling height.
- Wire partition – best used for items that require special security options.
- Multi-tier racking – most commonly used for large stocks of items with small unit sizes.
- Static shelving – best used for storing inventory that needs continuous refilling.
- Mobile shelving – ideal for holding more items in smaller spaces.
- Pallet racking – commonly used for holding inventory that comes in large boxes.
Depending on the needs of your warehouse, you can choose one or more of these shelving options to make the most of the space you have.
3. Label everything
Labeling racks, shelves, and containers will ensure your warehouse operates at a higher level. Your items will be easier to locate and your storage staff won’t waste their time endlessly searching for the right articles.
Here are four quick tips for labeling your warehouse assets properly:
- Use durable labels and make sure they stay in place securely.
- Make sure your labels are large enough to be read from a reasonable distance.
- Include more colors for easier identification of different label types.
- Use label makers for quicker labeling.
Labeling your storage assets will reduce the risk of errors and confusion and help your warehouse be more efficient.
4. Make the most from available technologies
Investing in automated storage systems will minimize your warehouse costs in the long run. Currently, there are four automated storage trends you can follow:
- Automation of picking refers to using robotic arms that can perform pick and place operations.
- Smart internal transportation includes the usage of cutting-edge technologies such as automatic guided vehicles and autonomous mobile robots.
- Automatic loading and unloading systems can help you improve safety and speed as it requires little to no human intervention.
- Cloud-based warehouse management software is used for logistical operations as well as optimal data storage and processing.
Automated warehouses are more efficient, safer, and optimized for maximum space utilization.
5. Track and analyze your key performance indicators (KPIs)
Tracking the KPIs of your warehouse operations will help you optimize your processes and identify weak spots. Here are the twelve most important KPIs you should keep your eye on:
- Cost of receiving per receiving line
- Receiving cycle time
- Putaway price per line
- Labor and equipment utilization
- Putaway cycle time
- Carrying cost of inventory
- Inventory turnover
- Inventory to sales ratio
- Picking and packing cost
- Packing cycle time
- Perfect order rate
- Rate of return
Each of these key performance indicators will give you a better perspective on the effectiveness of your current operations in your distribution center. You will know exactly what your weak links are and come up with a plan to fix them.
Efficient warehouse management is all about giving your customers what they need and when they need it.
Make a floor plan, choose shelving options that fit your needs, and label, label, label to make sure your supply chain doesn’t break.
Don’t forget to use most of the cutting-edge technologies and track your key performance indicators regularly.
We hope our article helped you understand what you need to do to organize your warehouse for better productivity and how to execute your day-to-day storage operations more effectively.