Warehouses are an essential part of any supply chain. The efficiency of your warehouse directly affects the overall efficiency of your entire business. This is why warehouses are so important. Their organisation can make or break an entire business.
The overall organisation of a warehouse encompasses everything from warehouse management software to shelving, labelling, and spatial organisation. This article shall focus on how to organise warehouse shelving, providing possible solutions that can help you maximise efficiency through the organisation of your warehouse shelving spaces.
General Warehouse Organisation Tips and Tricks
Before we dive deeper into the subject, there are a few common sense tips that everyone needs to check off their list when organising their warehouse. While each of these tips is quite straightforward, they tend to be easier said than done. This is because, in a warehouse, everything you do needs to be in line with a particular set of goals. Your actions should also aim to reduce running costs while maximising productivity and optimising space. One of the most important goals should also be ensuring superior customer service is delivered at all costs.
That being said, here are a few general tips for you to consider:
1. Be Clean
Keeping your warehouse clean can go a long way in improving efficiency. Simply allocating a few hours every week to cleaning tasks can yield a significant impact on productivity. The cleaner your warehouse is, the easier it is to move around in, and your employees will be way more efficient in their work.
2. Discourage Clutter
A warehouse that looks messy gives off a vibe of lack of efficiency. To an outsider, it looks like the leadership is poor, morale is low, employees are overwhelmed or revenue is being lost. This is not the sort of picture you want to paint for your visitors, staff or suppliers. You need to make sure that your work process discourages clutter, and your workers understand this.
3. Take A Closer Look At Your Inventory
Do you have more stock than you need? Is it possible to reduce your safety stock? Or can you negotiate a different agreement with your supplier to get them to supply you with smaller batches more frequently? The most important thing when it comes to inventory is ensuring that it is as lean as possible. Only keep around what you need. Having a lean inventory means that there will be fewer products for your workers to sift through to locate what they need, and everything will move so much more efficiently.
4. Safety First
Warehouses are among the most accident-prone work environments. Safety should be your priority, even before efficiency. Your workers are literally the oil that keeps your business moving. You need to think about their safety and avoid putting them in any unnecessary danger. Workers that feel safe are more confident moving around in their environment. Therefore, a safe warehouse becomes an efficient warehouse.
5. Shelving and Space Utilisation
Think about your traffic patterns when placing your shelves and determining space utilisation. A good understanding of how shelves and space need to be utilised is one of the fastest ways to improve efficiency in a warehouse.
6. Customised Organisation
Every industry is different. This also applies to warehouses. They function differently depending on the industry they are in. Does your warehouse ship multiple items to the same destination at the same time? Does it send out individual packages to different destinations? Every subtle change in the business model means that an accompanying organisational change needs to be effected to ensure the highest degree of efficiency.
When you come up with a particular solution to an organisational problem, you also need to come up with a way to make sure that your workers understand the process that it takes to maintain that solution. For example, when it comes to being clean, you need to come up with a way to ensure the warehouse stays clean, even when you are not around. Lack of standardisation is one of the main reasons why most warehouses revert to their old ways after merely a few days.
Warehouse shelving is one of the biggest factors affecting the overall productivity and efficiency of a warehouse. Today, warehouse space is more expensive than ever to maintain. Similarly, companies need increasingly bigger stocks to keep up with the competition. This means that only two options are presented: either get a bigger, more expensive space to house all your products or take advantage of the opportunities your shelving has to offer by using high-density shelving that has been well organised. Here is how to organise warehouse shelving:
Before you begin, you need to take a detailed inventory of what is existing in your warehouse. When reorganising your warehouse, you do not necessarily have to get rid of all your existing shelving spaces. Figure out what you have, what can stay and what needs to be replaced to make room for newer, more efficient and higher density shelves. You can also relocate a few existing shelves to create space for more. However, you need to pay attention to aisle spaces. Which brings us to our next point.
2. Pay Attention To Aisle Spaces
There are different spatial requirements for a worker working alone in an aisle, for two workers working in an aisle, for two workers working on facing shelves in an aisle, and for multiple workers working in the same aisle. There are also different spatial requirements for forklifts or other warehouse machinery. The spatial provisions of your aisles can significantly reduce potential accidents. Always make sure you measure allocated aisle spaces and determine whether they are wide enough for your workers to work in.
3. Be Flexible
Sometimes, shelving can be bulky. The largest, heaviest shelves usually end up being bolted to the floor to secure them. However, when organising your warehouse shelving and considering what sort of shelf to get, consider getting a shelf that can be installed on a shelf track. Shelf tracks are great for compact areas while providing an added level of freedom and flexibility. It is easier to focus on creating layouts that work through experimentation and trying to find the most efficient arrangement.
4. Pallet Racking Systems
Pallet racking is an efficient shelving storage solution that allows you to stock more inventory in a small space. The shelving spaces use durable steel, and the storage system allows for more vertical storage. Pallet racking systems are an absolute must if you are looking to expand your business, or even if you are just looking to become more efficient and organised in your current space.
5. Make Use Of Vertical Spaces
Before you decide to move on to a new location due to lack of space, consider exhausting your current space first by using vertical space. If you get shelving that prioritises vertical storage over horizontal, you may end up saving nearly half your current storage space. Vertical storage units are the best use of a warehouse’s available square footage. It saves costs and increases efficiency, taking your business to the next level. Our Services Page will give you an in-depth look at all the different types of shelves with this capability.
6. How To Draw Your Shelving Layout Organisation
When planning your shelving layout, imagine you have a wide open plan in the building. Ignore columns and any other obstructions, and come up with the most efficient layout plan possible. Maximise efficiency and productivity while allowing for ergonomic movement within the aisles. Once this is done, draw in your columns and such, and alter the design a little to accommodate them. The end result is a highly efficient layout design that also takes into account all the obstacles and uniqueness of your warehouse.
7. Maximising Shelving Efficiency
When organising your shelving, there are a few things you need to pay attention to. First, make sure your racks are in long rows. Make these rows as long as possible. Next, do not arrange your pallets along the walls, as this limits their efficiency. Finally, never create L-shaped storages. They are a nightmare for forklifts and human workers alike.
Warehouse space is very expensive in this day and age. You need to make sure you are getting the most out of it. This is why shelving space must be maximised without compromising on efficiency and productivity. Hopefully, these tips will help you begin to figure out what you have been doing wrong and what you can do to fix it. To get the best value for your money, check out our Services Page for a more detailed look at exactly what we have to offer.
1. How Can I Improve Warehouse Efficiency?
As stated earlier, an efficient warehouse is a successful warehouse. To improve your warehouse efficiency, you need to do these 5 things:
– Maximise the utilisation of all available space
– Make sure your inventory is lean
– Take advantage of technological solutions to your problems
– Optimise your labour force
– Organise the workstations of your staff to boost morale, productivity and efficiency
2. How Can Warehouses Improve Productivity?
Improved productivity is an ongoing process. It is a journey, not a destination. To achieve it, you need to communicate effectively with your workers, suppliers and clients, you need to maximise warehouse operation productivity, and to maximise the use of vertical space through better shelving solutions.