Using your warehouse space efficiently will help increase productivity and make it easier to move inventory in and out of your facility. Knowing where and how to put items will help make them more manageable to pick and replenish. There’s a fine line where you can try to use too much space, which will actually slow down and restrict movement. For the best results when stocking your warehouse, consider using any of these 12 tips:
A Place To Start
Creating an efficient warehouse begins by having a plan. Create a profile of your facility that includes total capacity and utilization. You’ll need to know how each of these areas will work:
- Rack configuration
- Slotting and picking
- Inventory management
Also, include a plan for any seasonal trends that may decrease or increase the flow of inventory.
Utilize Vertical Space
While the length and width of your warehouse will dictate how much you can store on the floor, remember to look up and see how high you can stack your inventory. Attempt to maximize the space as much as possible, and also be aware how this will affect fire codes and safety sprinklers.
Consolidate Items Into Specific Locations
Items that are the same should be consolidated into specific locations. This will help increase the productivity of the putaway process as inventory won’t have to be transported to more than one area.
Slot Related Inventory Together
Once you have consolidated items into specific locations, it’s also a good idea to slot related inventory together. If one item relies on another item to work correctly, it’s highly likely that both of these items will need to be picked at the same time. Having them close together ensures that time isn’t wasted going from one end of the warehouse to the other.
Loose items must have a place where they can be safely stored. It’s ideal if you can use containers that are a good fit for the items that you’re storing. It’s important to use as much space in your container as possible. To do this, you may need to use containers that are of different sizes. Also, be sure that the containers you use will fit together in an organized manner on your racks.
Match Your Slot Sizes
Making sure that the size and sales of specific items match their pick slot size will help maximize utilization. You may need to have picking slots that are various sizes to facilitate this. You also need to determine the number of units you want to store in each slot before replenishment is required.
Determining Aisle Widths
When determining the widths of your aisles, make sure that the handling equipment that’s used has the ability to easily maneuver between each aisle. Allow for turning, replenishment and picking maneuvers.
Extending Warehouse Space
There may be times when you need to extend the space of your warehouse. For example, if you store excess inventory for just a few items, you may want to have a shed extension built to store the extra units. By using one of the reputable industrial shed builders in Sydney to build an extension, you free up extra space. This will help the fulfillment process run more smoothly.
If you create a productive warehouse layout, you’ll need to make sure that employees know how to use it. Regular training should be provided so that everyone is up to speed on any changes in best practices that are used to keep the warehouse organized.
Use Cross-Docking When Possible
When it’s possible, utilize the practice of cross-docking. If there are times when you can schedule your logistics so that incoming items can be immediately loaded into outbound transportation, it will cut down on or totally eliminate the need for storage. This helps decrease the risk of problems occurring with the inventory via human error.
Combine Door Use
If you have separate areas and doors where you receive inventory and ship out items, it may be better to combine them and save space. Consider how this might affect your logistics to determine if it’s the best solution.
Keeping It Simple
The flow of your processes will run more smoothly if you keep your solutions simple. Warehouse space can represent a large part of the cost of each order. It’s also important to analyze your processes on a continuous basis to make sure that you’re utilizing all of your warehouse space as efficiently as possible. If needed, assign someone to the task of being responsible for how your warehouse space is laid out and used.