While your physical shop or e-commerce website may be the place where customers gather to browse and buy your products, the behind-the-scenes warehouse area is where the majority of the legwork takes place to meet customer’s needs.
Therefore, as a business, optimising warehouse storage and day-to-day operations is crucial to improving productivity and processes. That’s why, in today’s post, we’re going to shine the spotlight on the key ingredients needed to help streamline warehouse storage - delivering a safer, more efficient space for smooth-running supply chains.
Get employee feedback
No one knows the warehouse floor like the staff who walk the aisles on a daily basis, so before implementing any changes it’s beneficial to get an insider view on any current issues or improvement suggestions they may have.
From suggestion boxes in the staff room to getting out on the floor and talking to staff face-to-face, taking the time to ask for their insights will pay dividends in making impactful changes towards improving efficiency and space utilisation, as well as safety.
Correlate stock positioning with buying trends
Whatever you’re selling and shipping, there will undoubtedly be some products that are in higher demand than others, as well as some products that are typically sold together. Identifying top sellers, seasonal spikes and related product buying trends is essential for making the best use of stock storage space.
Prioritising stock positioning to ensure the most frequently sourced stocks are closest to the loading and packing area will make them easier and quicker to access. This will contribute to a faster and more efficient supply chain from re-stocking and picking to shipping them out to customers. You can also use data analysis to indicate which products are often bought together and adjust your warehouse layout to position them in the same or a nearby area.
Introduce a clear labelling system
Negotiating a warehouse layout can be challenging, especially in larger setups and with newer staff members, but a key ingredient to help everyone locate and safely navigate through the aisles is to introduce a clear labelling system.
From visible aisles signs and colour coded zones to product identification systems, if you want to streamline warehouse storage this is a must. Firstly, it will help staff members locate and pick items quicker, bolstering productivity and order processing time. Secondly, it will also negate incidents where stock is housed in the wrong area or situations where stock is left pending placement and eating up valuable floor space while it’s waiting to be put away.
Utilise vertical space
Whether you lease or own your warehouse space outright, it’s essential to make use of every inch of room provided - this includes ceiling space. Of course, safety is paramount in warehouse environments, so any vertically stacked products need to be done so correctly and safely.
To start, carry out thorough risk assessments on how high you can stack aisles and invest in suitable storage shelves and packaging products like strong large cardboard boxes that can be stacked upwards without compromising on the health and safety of staff. Also, factor in the height of your aisle shelves in relation to water sprinkler systems (if applicable) and fire code protocol.
Optimise your packing and loading areas
A huge part of warehouse operations relies on the unloading, packing and shipping of products, so it makes sense this space is used well. Naturally, these areas do require considerable space in order to operate safely and efficiently, but there may be ways you can save on space without sacrificing these aspects and gain more storage.
It goes without saying that these busy and sometimes hazardous areas with heavy traffic flow need to be kept well organised and tidy at all times - not easy with packaging materials, loading machinery and manpower to take into consideration.
Investing in space-saving packroom equipment like freestanding packing stations and semi-automated strapping machines will use less floor space, while open shelving for storing essential packaging materials like small cardboard boxes, shrink wrap and postal packaging products are neatly stowed and on hand.
When configuring your despatch area layout, stick with a logical design from stock being unloaded to orders being packed and prepped for shipping - being sure each element doesn’t hinder other parts of the supply chain. To do this calculate ample space for each stage of despatch that will prevent stock and orders becoming backed up and eating into storage space and potentially causing a health and safety hazard.
While these 5 ingredients will help you on your way, remember to factor in all-important organisational tactics like effective inventory management software to keep everything running smoothly.
Whatever size warehouse operations you’re running, with these key ingredients we hope you’ll have everything you need to optimise storage space - and to help you on your way, we have a fantastic range of packaging supplies and packroom equipment to boost day-to-day operations. To find out more contact our experienced sales team on 01992 702470 or send us an email.