Optimizing your warehouse operations means more than just changing out your industrial shelving units or changing inventory managements systems.
Warehouse optimization requires research, budgeting, and planning not only for current but future needs.
Regular reviews, even of very profitable enterprises, can help you adapt quickly to changing business climates and changes in technology.
To grow your business, you need to focus on streamlining and organizing your warehouse to the maximum extent possible to create more efficient workflows and improve profits.
These eight tips can help you do just that.
1. Map out the Space
The first step in optimization is mapping out your warehouse space.
Even if you have been in operation for years, it is still a good idea to periodically look over the architectural plans and space. Product lines, best-selling items, and new items may have changed.
Five years ago, perhaps you stocked smaller, high-value items but now more massive, bulkier items fill your shelves.
Maybe safety requirements have changed. Perhaps your front loading dock sees more activity that the rear one does, yet you keep most of the product processed out front in the rear of the facility.
2. Factor in OSHA Requirements
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements may be complicated and challenging to adhere to, but warehouse owners must follow them to stay in business.
If you are building a new warehouse, ensure you include OSHA requirements as part of your planning.
If you have an existing warehouse, review how you have implemented OSHA rules over the years and consider if there are better, more efficient methods than your current compliance measures of meeting the requirements, staying safe, but improving workflow.
3. Regular Inspections
Regularly inspect your operations. Take a critical look at how you move freight in and out, ensure all safety measures are being followed, and all safety equipment works properly.
Is the warehouse clean? Are forklift operators following proper safety procedures?
Check your records and ensure all new personnel have received adequate training.
4. Keep the Warehouse Brightly Lit
Install proper lighting in all areas of your facility. Bright lights keep personnel alert and less likely to have accidents.
Good lighting helps minimize picking errors or inventory mishaps.
Having a good visual picture always of your operations allows you to more easily and quickly identify problem areas and immediately address them.
5. Think Vertical
Many warehouse operations don’t take advantage of the available vertical space. Technologies exist today that automate picking, sorting, and restocking so you can use vertical warehouse space of up to one hundred feet.
Adding a Mezzanine is another excellent way to optimize your space and operations.
You can store material on a mezzanine, use the space for offices and free-up more ground-floor space for product, or maybe do both.
6. Stay Current with the Latest Technologies
Warehouse and storage technologies advance as quickly as technology does in other business sectors.
New advances in fulfillment center and warehouse storage equipment and software, picking equipment, forklifts, and more may not only improve your operations but help you keep ahead of your competitors.
7. Take a Hard Look at Inventory
Warehouse tend to overstock due to deals or specials that your purchasing agent could not resist.
Sometimes inventory becomes obsolete, and you don’t even realize it. Your back shelves could be filled with a product that no longer sells.
Dead inventory takes up valuable space that you could use for products that would add to your business’ net income.
8. Review Pallet Storage Densities
There are lots of types of pallet racks on the market, including drive-in rack systems, vertical lift modules, cantilever racks, cart flow racks, push back racks, and more.
Each type of rack has certain advantages and disadvantages. Call us on (800)-589-7225 (RACK) to discuss which system may be the best choice for your operation.