Warehouse organisation is sometimes a dry subject, but a nonetheless important one for those in logistics to consider. If you are inheriting a warehouse operative position, or seeking the best approach to managing inventory for your business, the following steps can help you re-organise your warehouse for maximum efficiency.
Logistics largely concerns the safe and effective storage of stock, and its correct management and administration – from procurement to delivery. When it comes to re-organising the warehouse, engineering and physical labour become much more important – both in terms of guaranteeing future responsiveness and more directly attending to the re-construction of warehouse furniture and equipment.
As such, prior investment in tools and equipment can go a long way to improving processes overall. Buy equipping the warehouse with power tools that use the same battery source, you can ensure efficient access to tools and no slow-down caused as a result of dead batteries; Milwaukee tools work by this token, and spare Milwaukee batteries are available to ensure charge is always available to staff.
Packaging equipment should also be upgraded to better handle outgoing material, and to minimise backlog – which can itself cause significant disruption to warehouse efficiency.
For any warehouse overhaul, the correct process should be to start from the ground up. In the vast majority of instances, this means reckoning with your warehouse’s floor plan before anything else.
Your warehouse will likely have floor-to-ceiling racking for the efficient storage of items, accessed by forklift for easy packaging and delivery. Your new floor plan should re-arrange these racks, taking into account the optimal flow of the warehouse, by looking at the movement of vehicles around the premises, the location of packaging equipment and the retaining walls themselves.
Your layout needn’t mirror the layouts of existing warehouses, but other warehouse environments can provide inspiration if you are struggling to find an optimum solution. Ultimately, you want to avoid the influx and outflow of inventory interfering with one another – either by creating an “in” route and “out” route for vehicles, or stationing organisational and packaging equipment opposite from one another.
When it comes to the filling of your racking and warehouse shelves with products, there are a number of approaches you can take to inventory management. There are endless ways to split inventory into different types, and no one method is necessarily better than the other. Consult your team and figure out the best method for your specific business needs.
However, there is one method that can dramatically improve warehouse efficiency: the ABC method. The ABC method describes the identification of key profit generators within your inventory, and their subsequent re-organisation to assist your warehouse team. For example, product “A” is the product that brings in the vast majority of your profits, while product “C” would account for the least.
A-grade products will be the products that leave shelves and are re-stocked the fastest; as such, you should ensure they are stored in an accessible place for both stocking and packaging. C-grade stock can be stored in a less accessible part of the warehouse to make more room.