Three Steps To Warehouse Optimization


As the owner or manager of a warehouse or distribution center, you already know the rewards of having an efficient, well-organized and smooth running facility. Product can be received, shipped, loaded and unloaded easily; orders are fulfilled when needed; inventory is maintained and productiveness and safety are top priorities. An operation that is struggling with these concepts can fall quickly into disorder: product is not rotated properly; racking is crammed with unlabeled product; customers waiting on orders are cranky; and safety takes a back seat as operations are rushed and hurried.

Learning how to make the best use of your space is the first step in optimizing operations. There are plenty of tried and true methods to achieving this important state. Here are three ways to get started.

Be Proactive in Methodology

Are you well versed in understanding how your product moves in and out of your warehouse? Under the umbrella of understanding movement, you might find things such as:

  • What's coming in and what's going out – and most importantly, when is it happening?
  • Are there people appointed to make sure that products (and the associated refuse, such as packing) are quickly cleaned up, sorted and stocked?
  • Are key employees sufficiently trained on how to make the best use of the equipment and tools you've provided?
  • If you have a variety of product going out to a variety of channels, are these pieces organized in a way that makes sense?

Learning how to avoid procrastination, organize efficiently, have employees trained to make the best use of their time and understanding your warehouse and distribution center flow is key to maximizing your warehouse space.

Using the ABC's to Improve Flow

The ABC system of categorizing your inventory helps you understand in a basic way how to store your product. By understanding where your priorities are, you can more effectively organize your warehouse. Organizing with the ABC system looks like this:

  • "A" items move quickly and bring in the majority of your revenue. This could be big ticket items that are worth large sums of money. Because these items move in and out quickly – and can be worth a lot of money – there should be some security measures in place in this area. "A" items should be stored in an area that is conducive to quickly moving items in and out.
  • "B" items are next in the storage lineup and consist of items that are capable of bringing in a good share of revenue and move frequently in and out.
  • "C" items are small and have the least amount of monetary value, but may be stocked in large quantities.

With the right amount of space – and the right placement of warehouse storage items such as pallet racks, shelving and more – you can organize your warehouse to run smoothly and efficiently.

Invest in Your Resources

There are many ways to find budget-friendly, but quality insured, equipment and resources. ROI is important to the bottom line and sometimes ROI is measured more effectively by how many years of usage over how cheap the original cost. Structuring and optimizing your warehouse or DC space with the right tools and equipment can help you by:

  • Minimizing Errors: Items that are improperly stored and labeled leads to lost hours and dollars. Spending the time and money upfront for an organized and well-run operation will save countless amounts of money in the long run.

  • Saving Money on Energy Costs: Docks doors that leak, seals that don't seal, restraints that are old or non-existent can all lead to inefficient operations.

  • Increasing Safety: Simply using floor tape can help eliminate dangerous cross traffic, such as between forklifts and pedestrians. Using the right shelving will go a long way to minimizing accidental product damage and employee safety hazards. Choosing to use correct rack, cantilever and other warehouse products will help you make safety a priority.

In the long run, creating a warehouse or DC that runs smoothly, efficiently, productively and, most importantly, safely is not easy, but it doesn't have to be hard. Understanding your flow, investing in the proper resources and being proactive with warehouse audits, constant reviews and ongoing maintenance will go a long way toward helping you make the most of your warehouse space.

At Madland Toyota-Lift, we have professionals who can help you not only plan the perfect space, but understand how to make it all work with the proper equipment. Contact us today.

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Sunday, 16 June 2024