Warehouse operators often overlook the cost savings and labor productivity improvements that can result from an efficiently organized distribution center. Over the last few weeks some of our tips have touched on the human element in your warehouse, warehouse technology tools, processes and security.  In Week 5 we are introducing inventory handling, storage and warehouse setup tips to help you make the most of your infrastructure and workforce investments. As always, if you have any tips you would like to share please post them in the comments below.

Tip #15: Understand Special Commodity Needs

Make sure that you understand each commodity you are handling and storing. Be aware of specialized storage and handling needs so that you can optimize the warehouse storage space accordingly and plan for proper handling of the goods.

Tip #16: Optimize Your Warehouse Footprint

Think of your warehouse space as the most valuable real estate on the planet. How can you fit more inventory into the same warehouse footprint?  Implement narrow aisle storage within your warehouse to add more rack positions within the same facility space.  You can utilize wire-guided forklifts and reach trucks to access products within the narrow aisles.
warehouse forklift

Tip #17: How Can We Improve Space Utilization?

Improving space utilization can have a measurable impact on your warehouse operation performance.  No matter the size of your warehouse facility, it is crucial to organize appropriately:
  • Make sure that long travel times between locations are minimized
  • Use the appropriate amount and type of space for every item to be stored without wasting space on oversized bin locations
  • Use warehouse storage containers to fit the item being stored if it does not arrive appropriately packaged
  • Ensure that inventory is visible, well labeled and easy to find
  • Utilize space wasted above dock doors to store items other than inventory. Items that can often be stored in this type of location include cleaning, office and maintenance supplies, packaging materials and items that are not needed for work on a daily basis.
  • Rent out any unused warehouse space to a third party

Tip #18: Inventory Organization

Are you using bin locations to help your workforce quickly locate products? If you are not, you are wasting valuable time and labor.  Using bin locations enables quicker, more accurate location of inventory within your warehouse.  Products can be located based on sales volume rather than by vendor to make sure they are placed in optimal areas to save steps and travel time.

Tip #19: Evaluate Inventory Velocity

Regularly review the velocity of your inventory. Make sure all fast moving SKUs are situated in easy to access locations and optimize for slotting.

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