How do I optimize my warehouse? A question that is asked by many owners and managers of warehouses. The answer may lie in various research methods, analysis reports and comprehensive roadmaps for change. However, these require a substantial investment of time and money. In addition they will have a negative impact on your daily processes during the implementation phase.
This is why we want to give you some small-scale tips for optimizing your warehouse. Tips that have a positive impact on the optimization of your warehouse, but minimal disruption to its daily operations.
Warehouse layout review
By thoroughly studying the warehouse layout it often becomes clear if improvements are possible. Does the layout of my storage systems make optimal use of the shape of my warehouse? Are all zones easily and safely accessible? Are the high selling goods located close to the processing floor and/or outbound dock? Does my staff have the most often used consumables stocked in the immediate vicinity?
Increasing the number of questions asked increases the quality of answers produced. Converting these answers into, often small but impactful, changes can be a big step in increasing the efficiency of your warehouse layout.
Increasing storage capacity
Overcrowded storage systems with bulging boxes and unwanted mixing of products. Does this situation sound familiar to you? Then there is a big chance that your staff performs their daily tasks sub-optimally. A tidy workplace, be it the storage systems with the stored goods, the packer’s desk or the storage area for outgoing goods, not only increases the efficiency of the user, but also reduces the margin of error.
Avoid overusing existing locations, but instead try to increase locations and customize them for your goods. Smart use of the available space can result in an impactful increase in your capacity. Watch out for dead spaces in your warehouse, behind corners, next to doors, in the high-up areas near the roof structure, etc.. Any space containing air rather than product or process area, is a potential for an increase in storage capacity.
Streamlining the processes
Who has a better view of what is going on in your warehouse on a daily basis than the staff who works there? A common mistake among business leaders is the lack of staff involvement in the optimization of the warehouse.
Firstly it is recommended to use the expertise of the people who perform the daily operations. They will undoubtedly have complaints about certain aspects of the range of duties, possibly even solutions that you, as an ‘outsider’, have not yet considered. Facilitating staff interaction, possibly through a suggestion box or monthly brain storming sessions, can provide you with a wealth of new optimization implementations.
Secondly you can also let the objective data do the talking by monitoring the performance of your staff. A task that seems insignificant at first can turn out to be a huge disruptive factor for the efficiency of your processes after data analysis. With correct data, correct decisions can be made for quality of work improvements.
Investing in safety
The warehouse layout is enhanced, the increase in storage capacity has created an orderly working environment and your staff feels involved and motivated to perform their tasks in the best possible conditions. Seemingly the dream of the fully optimized warehouse has been achieved. Until an accident occurs, in which, at best, no people have been injured.
A good working environment is a safe working environment. Not only do you want to keep your staff safe from injury, but you also want to give them the peace of mind that they can carry out their duties in complete safety. Staff member who do not have to concern themselves with their own safety will work efficiently and conscientiously. In addition, every accident entails costs and delays that can be prevented entirely by preventing said accident.
Work with a partner
Hopefully, while reading these humble tips, you gained some fresh ideas for optimizing your warehouse. Then all that remains is one last piece of advice; work with a partner. Surround yourself with people who not only have experience in optimizing warehouses, but are also involved in your business. Each warehouse environment has its unique characteristics and needs that are not noticed and/or remembered by everyone. CLN Racking is committed to entering into such a partnership. After all we want to be the partner that everyone would recommend to someone else.