The heart of order preparation and shipment is an efficient warehouse. If it isn’t running well, the resulting backlog will find its way into the operation of the entire business. Profitability and efficiency will be degraded, leaving the business struggling to stay afloat. Some basic strategies can keep a warehouse running smoothly, allowing it to receive and send shipments efficiently and keeping the business on a firm financial footing.
Organize Inventory & Picking
The key to efficiency in a warehouse is minimizing movement. When frequently-picked items are located too far from order assembly areas, workers waste steps and forklift movement with constant trips to the distant racks. Analyze volume and keep high-frequency items near the front, situating seasonal items and slow-movers as far as possible from the busy sections of the warehouse.
Illuminate Work Areas
Workers can’t pick an order if they can’t see it. A good warehouse should be well-lit so that barcodes and other package information are quickly visible to workers, enabling them to retrieve or stack their items without wasting time. Energy savings can be realized if the lighting is designed to focus only on areas where it is needed, leaving rack tops and other unoccupied areas darker.
Incorporate Worker Input
Nobody knows more about the daily functions on the floor than the workers who are there doing them. They provide the best feedback of what is working, what is efficient, and what is unsafe. As a manager, you are well-served to listen to their feedback and incorporate it into policies and procedures. Not only will the warehouse work more efficiently, but the attention to their ideas will improve worker morale.
Provide Good Storage
Efficient storage and removal of product is only possible when pallets are stored on quality racks. Instead of operating on used or improvised storage structures, invest in durable units. Certified Handling Systems offers well-designed, tough pallet racking that will tolerate your loads safely and efficiently, reducing mishaps and repairs. Rack failures, whether big or small, create losses by endangering workers, destroying inventory, and interrupting normal warehouse operations for hours or days.
In many ways, the warehouse can make or break a business. Smooth operation with inventory will reduce worker injuries, cut times on filling orders, and facilitate rapid and orderly offloading of receiving. While every warehouse is different, the basic principles of organization, quality equipment, and incorporation of worker suggestions will work in any industry to realize these goals.
Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. @LizzieWeakley