Warehouses have a very limited space to hold all the products they carry, which is why space efficiency is key to their success. Managers and owners are always looking for new and better ways to store their items and run their operations to increase that space utilization. To help get a better grasp on some things that might work, here’s how you can best organize your warehouse inventory.
Revaluate Warehouse Layout
The first thing you should do when organizing your storage area is revaluate your warehouse’s layout. There are almost always improvements you can make to the layout, both for space utilization and the safety of your workers. These are ways you can move racking, change aisles around, and apply best practices when designing your layout.
Keep Aisles Wide
The first thing you should keep in mind when remodeling your layout is to make aisles wide. Although you can get more storage if you shrink aisle, you must be careful. Decreasing aisle width can increase worker injuries as they no longer have the room to navigate the area safely. Walkways should be clear, and aisles should be wide enough to allow for full traffic through the space.
Get Rid of Dead Space
Every storage space layout will have dead space, as you need to space racking and equipment out both for employees and due to regulations. However, it’s very likely that you have unnecessary dead space that doesn’t serve either of those purposes and just hurts your efficiency. The best thing you can do is reformat your space to eliminate whatever dead space you can.
Optimize Item Flow
Items and products flow through your warehouse following the pathways you create. This is a major point of potential efficiency loss as bad item flow can slow down workers and even increase injuries. Keeping the flow of items as separate as possible, with inflow and outflow crossing as little as possible will improve performance. This will likely require moving around aisles and getting new racking that separates pickups and drop-offs.
Use Signs for the Warehouse
Another way you can improve your warehouse layout is by putting up signs all around your warehouse. Navigation around your warehouse can be confusing and dangerous, but signs can make it easy and prevent accidents with dangerous equipment or spaces. Signs identifying the locations of items and warning employees of dangers can massively improve your warehouse storage area.
Look for New Racking Options
Racking is the most important equipment in a warehouse, as it stores all the products you carry. Good racking will keep everything safe and help employees do their jobs. However, bad racking will waste a lot of potential and can cost you a lot of potential profits. Additionally, unsafe racking will only increase your worker comps claims, which is why racking is important to your warehouse’s inventory management.
Find High-Density Options
One of the first things you can do for racking is find better racking options that’ll store more in the same area. Although normal shelf racking can carry a lot, there are tons of other racking systems that can carry more, especially when it comes to holding specific items. Therefore, you should always look for better high-density inventory storage solutions to create the best warehouse possible.
Give Workers the Space They Need
Similarly, to creating enough space for workers to navigate your warehouse, workers need space when loading and picking items from racking. Tight fits will only cause issues for employees and possibly cause injuries. Your racking should give plenty of room for workers to grab and load safely, even if it’s high-density.
Prioritize Safe Equipment
The safety of your employees is extremely important for the success of your business, as injuries cost money and workers. Even if it may lower the usefulness of equipment, safe equipment will prevent injuries. Things like racking anchors and braces may cost slightly more, but they’ll save you money in the long run—and they can even make maintenance easier over the years.
Think About Automation
Automation is a great option for improving your warehouse storage and organization. A good AS/RS will track all the items in storage and retrieve all the items as necessary. This cuts down on injuries and speeds up productivity at the same time. Although there’s an initial investment, you’ll quickly make back any money you spend as you utilize the systems.
Warehouse Organizations Methods
There’s a lot you can change about how you decide where to put items and how you approach organization in your warehouse that may increase efficiency. Here’s a look at the best ways you can organize a warehouse inventory that any warehouse can use.
All the items and locations for those items should have labels, as this helps workers keep things in the right place. Additionality, labeling makes fulfilling orders a lot easier as you can quickly identify items and pick the correct product.
Group Similar Items Together
Unless you’re storing just a few different items, you’ll likely have items that frequently sell together. Putting these items near each other means you can quickly grab both when filling out orders and speeding up the whole process. A great example of this is storing toothpaste near toothbrushes so you can quickly grab both when someone orders them.
Put Popular Items at the Front
Not every item is the same distance from order processing, which means you can put more popular items near processing to make picking easier. Organizing your warehouse to put popular things in convenient places will save your workers a lot of time.
Get Maps for Everyone
Whether it’s by using signs or a physical copy people can use, giving maps to all employees will make navigation a lot quicker. Workers will lose a lot of time by turning down the wrong aisle and searching for a product when a map will make it easy. Maps can help people find their way through your warehouse and are worth the investment, even if you use labels and signs everywhere.
These tricks and tips should help you create a warehouse that’s both organized and efficient. By placing worker safety, space utilization, and organization best practices as the highest priorities, you can make the best warehouse possible with the space you have.