When it comes to the efficiency of your warehouse, organization is the name of the game. Poor organization makes finding inventory more difficult and time-taking. It poses safety risks and creates challenging navigation. Ultimately, poor organization hampers productivity, stopping you from reaching your full potential as a light industrial manufacturer.
Create a culture that centers around order and organization. Without it, your performance goals may start to tank. While there are many strategies and tips for optimizing organization and efficiency in your warehouse, there are three top areas to give attention to.
An organized layout significantly contributes to optimizing efficiency, a conduit, channeling the ease and efficiency of the whole workflow. Every corner, every aisle, and every shelf should have a purpose. Experts recommend reevaluating your workspace at least every three years as your company continues to grow. Grab a pen and a piece of paper; draw out a line map from the point inventory enters the building until it goes out the door, tracking it through the different zones. Ideally, this should be a pretty straight line.
- Does the actual workflow make sense? Is time wasted in backtracking and inefficient space?
- Areas with extra traffic — such as receiving and shipping zones — need extra attention. Make sure there’s plenty of room without wasting space.
- Use signage to identify the different zones and the workflow.
- Your main traffic path must always be clear, spacious, and easy to navigate.
- Utilize vertical storage, also known as stacking. It takes up little floor space, so it’s a very efficient form of storage.
- Don’t forget individual workstations. Maximize space as much as possible, giving workers room to do their job and access the necessary tools and inventory.
Another efficiency-optimizing element is maintaining good inventory management.
- Start by classifying your stock. Next, track the SKUs to help you identify which inventory moves the fastest, which takes a little bit longer, and which goes out the door the slowest. Then, prioritize the placement of quickly moving inventory.
- Group similar items together for quick accessibility, including packing and shipping materials. It cuts down on picking time!
- Lean your inventory! It’s tempting to keep extra on hand, but the more you have around, the more there is to manage daily. Try keeping just what you need on hand,
- Compartmentalizing your inventory with totes and bins is another excellent way to manage the different things you keep around efficiently.
- Barcode and label everything. The ability to scan and track inventory electronically saves time and helps keep things well organized.
While it may seem like another issue, efficient organization improves safety, which must be a priority.
For example –
- Uncovered cords are tripping hazards, inhibiting traffic and blocking workflow.
- Overcrowded, overstocked aisles block the movement of forklifts and other equipment and obstruct emergency exits.
- Hard-to-reach inventory leads to falls — and creates lag time as employees attempt to access items.
- Broken equipment is less effective than well-maintained tools and can cause injury.
- Employees who feel safe are more confident, productive, and engaged at work.
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