If your warehouse seems disorganized or hard to navigate for you or any of your employees, it probably is. Every warehouse can improve with some re-organization or some additional TLC, but if you’re constantly stymied when trying to find something or your pickers seem to be wandering around aimlessly, you should consider implementing some of the DIY tips below. If these don’t yield improvement, try a warehouse design expert. He or she can evaluate your current situation and recommend some possible solutions. Regardless of your choices, you want the results to be increased efficiency and accuracy.
1) Keeping It Clean and Safe
- Keep your warehouse clean! That means if you’ve let the debris, packing materials or just plain dust collect over a long period of time, you have your work cut out for you. Do a deep clean with the help of your employees, then make it a priority to stay on top of the dust and debris with weekly cleanings and daily garbage runs. Cardboard, packing materials, and papers should be bound up and put in their designated storage space. If you don’t store them, recycle or get rid of them daily.
- Insist on warehouse safety. A cluttered or dirty warehouse can trigger safety hazards and injuries, resulting in workman’s compensation expenses and a staffing situation. Debris on the floor in a forklift’s path is simply not safe. Liquid spills should always be cleaned up immediately to avoid falling hazards from slick floors.
2) Space Quest
- Your warehouse is simply space. You can configure it any number of ways, and there is no wrong answer.
- Use metal or plastic shelving devices and position inventory so it can be easily seen.
- Rack systems are popular storage units. If you opt for a rack system, review the various types – from first-in, last out to push-back — before you make your decision. (see our series on rack systems beginning in July)
- Large, open bins for smaller, lighter free-standing products or boxes can allow easy access to inventory.
- Use your space wisely. If you need more aisle space or simply want to utilize your area better, build your organization system upward in a high-ceilinged building. Wire decking and mezzanines are perfect tools for high storage.
3) Source Your Resource
- Include your employees in your quest for cleanliness, safety, and space. Often, if they are part of the solution, they will be more motivated to make it work for the good of the company.
- You also need arms and legs to implement your organizational strategies. There are resources right under your nose. By adding responsibility for employees and acknowledging their work, you can win over even the most cynical employee who simply sees this as making the “to-do list” longer.
- Research warehouse organizing software that can inventory product electronically. Find out if you can use any of these in your industry, and if it would improve your bottom line.
- Turn your organization project over to the pros. Warehouse designers will evaluate your space and work with you as a team to make the best use of it.
4) Soften the Blow – Explore Warehouse Logistics Software Solutions
- If you’re just thinking of physical changes to organize your warehouse, you’ll miss the boat on some advanced software opportunities that can streamline your process. The industry is moving forward with computer-based software for all parts of the warehousing business.
5) Follow the Signs
- Use signage for product categories and aisle markers to make it easier to navigate the floor plan. Identify the key product in the aisles and label sections within the aisle.
- Have a floor plan map posted and keep it handy for new employees or visitors.
6) Feedback Requests
- Don’t forget to evaluate your new, organized warehouse for streamlined processes and time-saving storage solutions. If something’s not working in the first few weeks, change it, but overall, give change a chance. A quarterly review is probably reasonable so that any necessary improvements can be made in a timely manner.
- Listen to employee feedback. They will tell you what they think of any new organization process or tool if you ask – and probably if you don’t ask, also!
- Acknowledge contributions from those who took on more responsibilities to keep the warehouse organized.
If you still feel disorganized after you’ve given change a chance, or if you simply don’t have the time to do it yourself, call in the experts. These warehouse design specialists are creative and accommodating. They will work with you and your team, and they can even do custom configurations for your warehouse floor.
To speak with a design specialist if you have questions about organizing your warehouse or the products that might be right for your inventory and packing process, call Everything Warehouse at 1-888-412-6806.