In a warehouse setting, organization is everything. Pickers have to know where to go to pull items off the shelves and the best way to get there. Workers on the loading dock need to have a clear idea of what's coming in and where it needs to be stored. Managers must get a bird's-eye view of everything going on in the warehouse on an ongoing basis.
With that in mind, it's vital for warehousing companies to continually evaluate their processes to make sure everything is running as efficiently as possible. Here are five tips to increase organization and ensure each process is going smoothly:
1) Reassess shelving
For most businesses, space is simply measured in square footage, but of course for any warehouse, leaders need to consider cubic footage, according to Emerge. While some warehouses may have been able to get by for years with basic shelving that reaches, say, 15 feet in the air, now might be the time to consider new investments that reach higher to the ceiling and make better use of every inch of space available above the warehouse floor.
2) Label every item
Along similar lines, it's a good idea to make sure every item coming into your warehouse is properly tagged - whether with a unique barcode or an RFID chip - to make sure it can be easily tracked throughout the warehouse, Emerge advised. When everything is scanned in and out on an ongoing basis, it becomes much easier to take a holistic view of operations and, potentially, spot inconsistencies.
3) Consider safety risks
An unsafe workspace is a disorganized one, and that's true for any type of company, according to Sweet. But in a warehouse setting, the issue takes on even greater importance. Depending on the severity, even one accident can derail work for a day, a week or more, and potentially cost the company massive amounts of money. For that reason, it is vital to continually assess all safety risks and address them as soon as they crop up.
4) Reorganize the floor plan if needed
Much like it's a good idea to consider making better use of cubic footage above workers' heads, it's also wise to determine whether the current floor plan is conducive to maximum efficiency, Sweet added. If your pickers are spending more time than you'd like navigating the work space just to get to the items they need to complete a shipment, you might be wise to consider different configurations that help ensure every task is a little easier to handle.
5) Go digital
When companies use paper processes in 2019, they are putting themselves at some risk for inefficiency, according to 6 River Systems. After all, if a shipment comes in and contents are only logged by hand on paper, that form becomes vulnerable to getting misplaced, damaged or used incorrectly. When all warehouse information is digitized at its source, everything becomes easier to track and manage.
While many of these changes may seem relatively small, the cumulative effect of any number of them - or just the long-term improvements that come with implementing just one - really add up quickly.