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Five Simple Ways to Improve Your Warehouse Storage Efficiency


Worker scanning a box for stoage efficiency

The smooth operation of a warehouse or storage area is pivotal for customer satisfaction and storage efficiency. Those efficiencies assist in ensuring quick, accurate picking and shipments.

If you are looking for some ways to improve your storage efficiency, the following may be of assistance:

1.      Maximise and optimise all available space

Often companies look to expand their warehouse footprint without considering better use of all vertical space. For example, many warehouses and storage facilities use only medium-height racking due to constraints with forklifts and ladders.

You can store more in the same footprint by adding taller storage racks and acquiring the right equipment to pick and manage inventory. Often the new redesign of the warehouse can offset the costs compared to expansion costs.

Another consideration is the type of shelving system and the variety of shelving used. Warehouses and storage facilities often utilise selective pallet racking and long span shelving leading to wasted space.

Rather than using the same racks or shelving throughout your warehouse, your new design and layout can include various types of racks and shelving for different inventory. Within the shelving, there can be additional storage methods, like standardised bins, to assist in keeping shelves in an orderly and neat process.

2.  Lean Inventory

Many people relate lean to manufacturing, but adopting lean inventory practices is equally important. The foundation thinking of lean is to produce or store only what you need and nothing more.

Should your facility be located in an area where multiple deliveries daily or weekly are possible without supply chain disruption, then the possibility to reduce or eliminate safety inventory levels may exist. Discuss with suppliers to deliver smaller quantities of some goods more frequently.

3. Adopt technology

Implementing a warehouse management system (WMS) can greatly impact storage efficiency by establishing the best routes and processes for picking or putting away. Furthermore, a WMS system can provide team members with automated pick lists.

These lists can be sent to mobile readers and devices to assist in eliminating errors and reduce wasted time and paper, enabling your warehouse will be neater and more environmentally greener. In addition, you can use barcode or radio frequency identification (RFID) readers to improve transactions’ accuracy further and reduce picking errors.

4. Workstation layout

The layout of your workstations directly impacts the productivity of your team. When workers are required to search for tools or equipment, valuable time is lost, and maybe even the tools.

Lean manufacturing uses the “5S” method to ensure team workstations are as organised as possible. The “5S” steps consist of: (1) Sort; (2) Set in order; (3) Shine; (4) Standardise; and (5) Sustain. These five steps involve going through everything in a workstation and deciding what is necessary and what isn’t. You can then put things in order, keep them clean, and set regular procedures for performing these tasks.

5. Optimising your labour efficiency

You can analyse your material usage and inventory retrieval patterns to create storage efficiencies. The analysis will identify high-volume items that can be stored together in the front of the warehouse to reduce travel time.

You can also identify store items that are frequently sold together and stock them near one another. You will streamline your storage operations by keeping the items or inventory you pick most frequently in the most accessible locations for your team to eliminate picking delays.

Improving your warehouse or storage efficiency is as much about warehouse layout and the style of racking you install. Once that fundamental requirement is addressed, you can apply these additional steps set out toward achieving storage efficiency.

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