When you’re first starting out with your business warehouse, you probably have visions of row upon row of neatly stacked and sorted product that is efficiently placed and later picked up for delivery to clients or distributors. You no doubt picture pristine thoroughfares with shiny forklifts speeding along with optimal efficiency. Unfortunately, the daily grind of warehouse operation is not quite so cut-and-dried. Things are bound to get messy. And what you’ll likely discover is that you missed a few steps along the way. The good news is that your mistakes can help you to improve. And with a few key changes you can organize your warehouse and increase efficiency. Here are some tips to get you started.
If you have yet to adopt a modern labeling system, it’s time to get with the program, which is to say, you need some labeling hardware and software. A computerized operation is a must these days, and the bare minimum may not be enough. You’ll need to take and track orders electronically, and the easiest way to handle inventory coming and going is to slap a barcode label on every package or item that enters your warehouse. Once it’s in the system you should be able to enter storage information (section, shelf, and even bin) so that it can be easily retrieved to fulfill orders. And the equipment and programs you select to manage day-to-day operations should also have options for reporting, collating picking, and otherwise helping to make your operation more organized and efficient.
Of course, this is only one side of the equation. Knowing where things are (or should be) won’t do you much good if you lack the physical infrastructure to organize your storage. If your warehouse is constantly cluttered, chances are you either need to expand to a larger space or you’re not making the best use of the warehouse space you currently have. Over time you’ll figure out whether your storage is working for your product or not. If not, it’s time to consider updating your shelving units, bins, and other storage solutions to better suit your needs. Optimizing your racks is a great way to fit more items more effectively and clear up the clutter that’s slowing your operation and leading to waste and loss.
You should also make sure your layout is conducive to optimal usage of space. You want to put shelving racks close enough together than you can fit in as much storage as you need, but you also need to make sure your lifts from Shaw Material Handling Systems, Inc. are able to fit through the lanes and maneuver as necessary to place items on shelves and pick them up later. And of course, warehouse efficiency and safety go hand in hand, so you need to make sure your layout and design meet industry standards for safe operations.
Getting your warehouse operation in shipshape may not be easy or inexpensive and it probably won’t happen overnight. But when you clear the clutter, get organized, and put the proper storage solutions and systems in place to improve operations, you’re going to see less waste and greater efficiency as a result. And this can only make for a brighter future for your business.