Warehouse organization is essential in starting and maintaining a successful business. It will determine how well the business functions. You might have a disorganized warehouse, and you need help organizing it. You may also have a well-functioning facility, but there is opportunity for improvement.
Whatever the case, if you want to improve a warehouse’s organization, you should start small. Making minor adjustments will encourage significant change in time. Warehouse organization falls into three broad categories, including:
- Warehouse layout
- Clean workspaces
- Inventory organization
These areas will guide your warehouse organization. Consider each category at a time and review how your warehouse measures up. Then ask yourself if there is something you can improve. Here is a deeper look into the best practices for effective warehouse organization.
Improve Your Warehouse Layout
The warehouse layout means how you organize racks and the space between them. Knowing how to organize warehouse shelving and optimize the warehouse’s layout is essential to having an efficient facility. So, plan the warehouse to make it safe for people and equipment to move around. At the same time, ensure you optimize the usable space.
A well-planned layout ensures that employees can reach products quickly. It also improves productivity. Some warehouse organization ideas to improve the layout are:
#1. Using Signage and Labels for Warehouse Organization
It would be best if you labeled inventory and work zones. Doing so will ensure the facility flows smoothly in the long term. Labeling is easy and quick to do, and it’s a great way to improve efficiency.
- Helps everyone know where to put different products.
- Add photos to labels for faster, easier identification.
- Place photos at the end of aisles to show where a specific category is.
- Signage on potential hazards enhances worker safety and reduces errors.
Finally, labels are beneficial for new and temporary employees. For example, if you use labeled hopper bins it’s easier for new staff to locate items on top of creating better warehouse organization methods.
#2. Improving Your Floor Plan
For people who are at the beginning of designing a warehouse, they can create an effective floor plan from the start. But, if you already have a functioning warehouse, don’t worry. You don’t need to start with a complete overhaul. Warehouse organization methods can start small and work towards long-term goals.
Examine the layout of your current warehouse as a whole. Warehouse organization requires a balance of efficiency and safety. Think about how to organize warehouse shelving, machinery, and walkways. Its flow should follow the facility’s order of operations:
- Picking and packaging
An excellent way to find opportunities to improve your floor plan is to ask your staff for warehouse organization ideas and make sure they are free to speak out. Ask them if there are adjustments you can make to support better warehouse organization and flow. Improving the floor plan supports employee safety, productivity, and business success.
#3. Giving Out Maps
Provide your staff with maps to help them move around the warehouse. Maps are a great way to help new and temporary workers. With maps, they can get where they need to go quicker. Thus, handing out maps boosts productivity.
#4. Reassessing Your Capacity
Warehouse organization means using your space efficiently and creating the best possible arrangement. Your warehouse’s capacity is the largest number of products it can handle. Take time to assess that capacity. You might use conventional racks and shelving for your warehouse. If so, consider their spacing. Is the spacing even?
Is there unutilized space? If you have unused space, you are losing out. Maximize your capacity by using better storage methods.
Focus on Inventory Management
Inventory management encompasses nearly everything that is in the warehouse. You need an efficient inventory management method to help track everything. Without proper management, it will be tough for workers to fulfill their duties.
Here are some warehouse organization methods for inventory management.
#1. Using a Warehouse Management System
A warehouse management system assists you in controlling the amount and movement of inventory. The system helps improve efficiency in using the space available. It also lets you optimize work hours.
A warehouse management system (WMS) provides near-perfect accuracy on the amount of a specific product in the facility. A WMS can help you track and organize the inventory. So, it limits the risk of costly human error.
The system can also guide the movement of workers through the warehouse. It ensures that they use the most direct paths to get to items in a shorter time. In doing so, a WMS increases operational efficiency. A WMS system is a good place to start if you want to transition to automation in your warehouse.
A WMS offers support to many warehouse organization ideas. Data from the system can help you categorize and slot inventory. It can also help you choose appropriate storage methods.
Implementing a WMS as soon as possible is beneficial in the long term. The historical data that will accumulate will guide the optimization of your facility.
#2. Having an Efficient Procedure for Receiving Inventory
A disorganized warehouse may have boxes piling up. If you have such a facility, you should check your procedure for receiving inventory. Review the process to create a more efficient one and move one step closer to warehouse organization.
Place workers to check for quality during receiving. They will check if the inventory received is the right amount and if it is in great condition. Afterward, you can move to the storing phase.
Proper warehouse organization means having a place for even the smallest of items. Storage devices are powerful tools for improving warehouse organization. Examples are totes and bins, which help keep products in order. Make sure you label the storage devices.
#3. Categorizing Inventory
Categorize inventory to improve your warehouse organization system. Use data to support your stock-keeping units. Start by taking stock of everything that is in your warehouse. Note the shape, quantity, and size.
Also, note how often each particular item moves. Doing so will help organize the inventory into different classes. These classes are A, B, C, and D. A is inventory that moves fast.
B moves at a medium rate. C is slow, and D is very slow. Compare the movement rate with the time workers spend picking those respective products.
The data will inform you of the cost of picking inventory in the facility. Thus, you can improve efficiency and warehouse organization.
#4. Using Safe and Efficient Storage Methods
Some goods are often sold together. For these items, store them close together on your shelves. By doing so, staff will take a shorter time moving between products to fulfill orders.
Another warehouse organization method is to store best-selling items near the front.
When deciding how to organize warehouse shelving, keep seasonal products closer to the back or at the tops of shelves. Keep heavy products closer to the ground to reduce the likelihood of injuries. It will also make it easier to pick up products.
You can use plastic trays for storage to keep things organized. You may want to know how to arrange shelving for optimal warehouse organization. A rule of thumb is to embrace simplicity. So, avoid complex paths through the facility’s shelving.
An organized warehouse minimizes the distance your employees move for every
order. A shorter distance means faster fulfillment and better productivity.
Maintain a Clean Workspace
The hard work put into warehouse organization gets wasted without proper maintenance. Keeping a clean workspace is a form of proper maintenance. It helps avoid damage to items while ensuring workers stay healthy. A healthy workforce will be productive. You can maintain a clean workspace by:
Performing Regular Cleaning
Doing routine cleaning will help the facility run at an optimum efficiency level and make warehouse organization easier. Removing debris also improves employee safety. But, how do you ensure regular cleaning?
You can come up with a cleaning checklist for your staff. Another solution is to use a cleaning service.
After the process of warehouse organization, you will have a more efficient facility. Train your staff to maintain the improved facility. Tell them what you expect. Also, conduct a periodic evaluation of the maintenance process.
Train employees to use any new devices you may have added. Doing so will help with enhancing efficiency. Make sure you regularly maintain the equipment in the warehouse. Maintenance helps keep your facility running smoothly by limiting unanticipated downtime.
Maintaining Clear Aisles
All warehouses have many different moving parts that can make warehouse organization a challenge. An example includes moving vehicles like forklifts. Make sure you keep the aisles of your facility clear of these vehicles. When you do that, you enhance employee safety and overall workflow.
As you consider creating space for moving vehicles, ensure you don’t give them too much room. A lot of room may waste valuable space.
That’s a Wrap: Streamlining Your Warehouse Organization
Keeping a warehouse well-organized will benefit you both now and in the future. Pay attention to the three critical aspects of warehouse organization as you seek to transform your facility.
Every warehouse is unique. So, only a number of tips provided here may prove helpful. Pick all the relevant ones and apply them to your warehouse for better efficiency.