Warehouses play a vital role in the supply chain. An efficient and lean warehouse will keep your business running more efficiently and provide a better customer experience. With a combination of technology solutions such as a cloud WMS system and better processes, your business will realise improved overall results.
Organising your warehouse operations and keeping them that way can be easier said than done. Each decision you make should optimise your existing space, boost productivity, deliver a better customer experience, and align with your business goals. Here are some tips for keeping your warehouse organised that you can implement.
1. Cleanliness is key
Set aside time in every shift to clean work areas. This should be part of every worker’s job description. You should also designate time for organisation and deep cleaning activities each week or month.
2. Lean Inventory
When you adopt a lean inventory system, you only have the products you need to fulfil orders on hand. However, make sure you take into consideration any supply chain issues before implementing major changes.
3. Clutter is a hazard
No matter what type of inventory system you use, get rid of the clutter in your warehouse. Products and debris in the aisles can be safety hazards, reduce morale, and lead to massive inefficiency.
4. Space Utilisation
Understand the ways your warehouse is using its space so that you can make improvements. Specifically, how are containers and shelves being utilised as they relate to the various traffic patterns throughout the building?
5. Warehouse Design
If your business is growing, as most that handle online sales are, it’s probably a good idea to revaluate your warehouse design frequently. This is because what worked last year at a certain volume may no longer be efficient. You will need to revise your processes and space requirements as you grow.
6. Prioritise your SKUs
Your most popular SKUs should be in easy-to-reach physical locations to reduce unnecessary work. Going along with the last recommendation, you’ll want to reassess this often. Popular products can change frequently and shift with the seasons.
7. Eliminate traffic barriers
Is there anything in your warehouse that is a constant barrier to shipping, receiving, or other activities? Aisles shouldn’t be holding or staging areas or places to leave malfunctioning equipment.
8. Maximise Warehouse Space
Rather than look around for a larger warehouse, explore ways to make better use of the space you already have. Most warehouses fail to properly use their vertical space. Adding a mezzanine or taller storage shelves can significantly add to your available space. You can also use different types of storage units, such as pallet racks and bins.
9. Warehouse Technology
Most of today’s warehouses are using technology solutions to gain efficiencies and a competitive edge. These solutions also help keep your warehouse organised. The best place to start is with a warehouse management system (WMS). You can then add other technology such as RFID tags and automation solutions.
Manually counting inventory or warehouse assets isn’t efficient. And barcode systems have a lot of limitations. If you want to have the simplest and most efficient labelling system possible, consider implementing RFID tags.
11. Inventory Management
If you can’t control your inventory, your warehouse is going to be a mess. You can accomplish this through a combination of using the right warehouse layout, a WMS, better processes, RFID tags, and some warehouse automation tools.
12. Clear Signage
Once you organise your warehouse, make it simple to navigate with clear signage. Mark the aisles, shelving, rows, and various sections of your warehouse. Create a map so that it is easier to place things where they belong.
13. Maximise Receiving Area
Receiving is a vital part of your warehouse operations. A lot of errors can happen in this part of the business. To avoid problems, plan your physical space wisely. Make sure there is plenty of space to account for all of the truckloads of inventory your warehouse will receive.
14. Create receiving policies and procedures
Your receiving area is a place where injuries can happen, and people can abscond with products. Create some strict receiving policies and procedures with regards to cleanliness, tidiness, and security. And then train your staff on them.
15. Reverse Logistics.
Remember that you will also have a percentage of your sold products come back into the warehouse through returns, recalls, and recycling programs. If you don’t set aside a staging area for reverse logistics, you can create some backlogs and wasted space.
16. Storage Bins
If workers struggle to access storage bins, the picking process will take much longer to complete. In addition, there may also be an increased risk of injury if bins are awkward and hard to reach. Design your bins so that they are simple to see inside.
17. Reduce travel time
Travel time inside your warehouse can easily account for 50% or more of a worker’s order picking activities. By using cluster and batch order picking strategies, you can reduce some of that walking. When smaller orders are combined, a worker can handle those in a single trip.
18. Invest in Warehouse Automation
When workers have to travel back and forth to a central location and handle tons of paper, things are likely to get cluttered and possibly confused. Errors will be more common due to employee fatigue, and customer satisfaction will suffer. One solution is to use picking automation solutions, such as wireless headsets and mobile carts. Workers will get order instructions via voice technology, and the system will update in real-time as the products are pulled from shelves.
Warehouse organisation can often feel like an ongoing struggle. But tidy and well-organised warehouses make the entire process of receiving products, storing them, picking and packing items, and then shipping them to customers more efficient.
Speak to one of our team to understand how Clarus’ WMS system can cost effectively support best practice warehouse management processes, better customer service and highly efficient working for a range of warehouse operations with pay per month options and no IT infrastructure needed.
Our platform can scale from a one user, small depot system to a 100’s of user distribution centre operation. The ClarusWMS platform will cost effectively scale with your business based on demand.
ClarusWMS is a UK based supplier of warehouse management solutions with a wealth of industry experience in third party logistics, wholesale / retail distribution, online fulfilment and manufacturing warehousing.