However big or however small, every warehouse needs to be as perfectly effective as possible, and it is indeed possible! Here are the most important things you need to know and apply in order to make it work smoothly.
Make sure every aisle, slot and shelf is labelled correctly; even if your staff knows where everything should be, there must be no room for confusion. It’s very useful to add colours to the labels as well, and/or other features that make it even easier for everyone to find a product or a place where a product needs to be. Also, put up signs at the aisles!
2. Bin locations
This refers to simply dividing the warehouse into segments, so that everything make sense. Think labels, but on a larger scale: you can designate colours or names to big areas of your storage, and then also name or number rows, shelves, etc. Of course, remember to make it compatible with your labelling system.
You may have to redistribute some things, or even make small changes in construction such as putting up or taking down a wall. Apply what is most functional and it will greatly pay off!
3. Know and predict stock requirements
Not all products have the same amount or frequency of movement. And some of them require more units per order than others. If you know your products and your clients, and how big and frequent the moving of those products is, then you will know how to store them in a practical way. For example, an item that will most likely stay in storage for a long time doesn’t need to be located in the most accessible area of your warehouse.
4. Cross docking
Another way to optimise this movement and exchange of products is cross docking. You’ll notice that, for certain items, it is possible to arrange your schedule so that when they come, they go: the product arrives and it doesn’t need to enter the warehouse, instead you simply move the units to the vehicle in which they will leave to be distributed.
5. Manage your inventory with an app or program
Technology is here to help! Use an inventory system that makes it easier for you by keeping a complete and accurate account of what you have stored, what comes and goes. It will also make the math for you if you need it, and even gather statistics.
6. Optimise design and safety
Apart from what we mentioned in number 2 of our list, always keep in mind that there are people working there. This means not only that the place must be secure and safe, but also, as comfortable and functional as possible. Ensure that there is enough space to move around and that there are enough trolleys, jacks, etc. You can even get foldable trolleys at Sitecraft so that you have the tools AND the space when they’re not in use.
7. Schedules and organisation
Even if your staff is thoroughly trained (which is also very important), it will often happen that there are things to do until the last minute. Try to set up a clear and reliable schedule that allows for the work to be done but also to wrap up and clean up before employees have to clock out. This avoids mistakes and, of course, will make it easier for workers as they do not have to hurry or to stay longer than their work hours.