Running a warehouse is a fine art, and something that plenty of people have devoted plenty of time to deciphering and understanding. No matter who you are – warehouse manager or warehouse worker – you’ll always be on the lookout for ways to make your warehouse function more efficiently. Whether you invest in new lifting equipment or look for a design hack to improve the way in which people pick and pack items – there’s always improvements to be made.
After all, warehousing is most successful when you can transport the goods to the right location quickly and cheaply. Preferably quicker and cheaper than your competitors! We have come up with five warehouse design tips that will work to improve the productivity of your staff in the hopes that you enjoy greater business success.
Make the receiving area bigger
The stock receiving area is doubtless one of the most vital places in your warehouse.
You need to have enough room for everyone to do everything they need to do – whether it’s breaking down pallets or counting stock. When you have more space in the receiving area you will find that it’s easier for your staff to do their jobs. Some warehouses will place a lot of emphasis on intuitive design or trying to be reflexive or adaptive to seasonal variability, but in actual fact one of the best things that you can do is to make the area for your staff to work bigger so that they can work faster and with greater ease.
Make the inventory intuitive
Make sure you design your warehouse so that you don’t need to move inventory more than once. You don’t want to store items in a place only to have to move them again soon later. This is counterintuitive and requires double handling – and this is something that is no good for productivity!
Split the warehouse up into segments
Working in a warehouse can be pretty fast paced, which is why it’s important to split the warehouse up into segments that are very well defined. As an example, you may have an area for returned products. This area should be in a separate part of your warehouse that isn’t going to be mistaken for other types of stock.
When you segment your warehouse, you can rest easy knowing that your staff won’t get confused with items or stock which saves you time and money in problems down the line. Keep your shipping area and your receiving area in separate parts of your warehouse to make sure that you are treating all of your stock as it should be treated.
Set up bins and pick paths
You need to make the job of your pickers as easy as possible.
You want them to be able to fill their orders right the first time around. A key design component of this is creating a pick path that indicates what direction you want your pickers to move down the aisles. Your pickers should start their picking route at the area furthest away from their shipping area and move closer as their fill order.
Random location strategy
You want to lay your warehouse out so that the products are arranged according to product accessibility rather than popularity. The popularity of products is going to change because of cycles and advertising, and so you need to ensure that accessibility is always paramount when arranging the design of your warehouse.
We hope that these warehouse strategies have proven helpful for your design considerations. It’s important to remember that you need to focus on time, space and efficiency as key parts of your productivity measures – and always be on the lookout for better strategies and methods. As productivity and efficiency guru Tony Robbins says, focus on CANI – constant and never-ending improvement.