Smart organization is the most important factor in improving warehouse performance. With warehousing, every process can be scientifically measured to find out the best way to perform certain tasks. Furthermore, many operations can be automated, thanks to technological progress. We’ve created this guide to show you ways to maintain your daily workflow in a safe, efficient way. Read on to find our 50 top tips on organizing your warehouse.
Orderliness in the Warehouse
1. Create a work structure. Work goes faster when employees know exactly where certain things are located. Keep handy only those items necessary for completing the job, and always leave them in the same place.
2. Maintain the cleanliness of your warehouse. Regularly spending time organizing your warehouse improves overall efficiency. It lets employees move around without having to jump hurdles and ensures that no stock gets lost or misplaced.
3. Avoid clutter. Piles of unnecessary items may obstruct access to important stock or make them hard to find. Furthermore, messy environments distract from work.
4. Focus on tidiness rather than capacity. An organized, uncluttered warehouse will always fit more stock than a messy one, no matter how high you try to stack or how hard you squeeze boxes into a space.
5. Keep the number of shipping containers and boxes to a minimum. Get rid of containers that aren’t used to free up space. Plus, if you have several types and sizes of boxes you use, your employees may take too much time thinking about which one to choose. Try to select a universal size and shape if possible.
6. Pack stock properly, utilizing the whole container space. Tight packing ensures that less warehouse space is used.
7. Ensure that all labels on your inventory are visible. Labels should face aisles for easier identification and access.
8. Count inventory in shorter cycles. Traditionally, inventory is counted once or twice a year. But if you do this routinely – for example, monthly – your results will be significantly more accurate. This also helps to memorize where specific stock is located.
9. Keep track of your results and daily operations. Analyzing performance helps in organizing the warehouse and keeping task execution efficient.
Organizing Warehouse Inventory
10. Labels are important. Labeling all your stock helps to easily identify and track it. Labels should contain information about the product type, its name, main features (such as color), and the SKU number.
11. Use labels not only for stock containers but also for navigation in your warehouse. Indicating what stock is in a specific aisle may save you a lot of time searching for the required box.
12. Pay attention to your inventory error rate. Keeping track of lost and damaged items can provide you with useful insights. By analyzing your mistakes, you can determine which parts of your warehouse need to be improved and whether your organizational system works.
13. Profile orders. Demand for stock generally fluctuates depending on the season, so reviewing your setup and regularly re-slotting your warehouse is important. This ensures that you can easily reach the most popular items.
14. Allocate stock based on storage and pick types. This will ease access for order pickers and simplify re-slotting.
15. Pre-count inventory that’s ordered rarely – for instance, seasonal items. If some of your stock is lying on the top shelf of the warehouse for months, labeling its quantity will speed up the inventory check.
16. Make sure that everything in your warehouse has a barcode. When some items can’t be scanned during an inventory check, they need to be counted and added to your system manually. In the best case, this takes extra time, but you’ll get an accurate count. In the worst case, the item without a barcode ends up uncounted at all. This negatively affects your stock take results.
17. Employee training is crucial for maintaining your warehouse in order and keep performance high. Make sure they know what they’re doing.
Layout of the Warehouse
18. Utilize space wisely. Maintaining the right order volumes when organizing your warehouse ensures that no space gets wasted or cluttered. Follow the projected stock amounts to achieve maximum efficiency while keeping the warehouse tidy.
19. Use logic in the order picking process. Efficiently organizing this process is crucial for any warehouse. For example, if you ship high amounts of small orders, ensure that your staff can work from one location instead of running back and forth.
20. Reconsider your warehouse layout. You’re likely getting a different amount of stock than you did a couple of years ago, so reevaluating your layout or even relocating the warehouse may be beneficial.
21. Use stackable solutions. Stackable items are one of the best space-saving inventions of all time.
22. Think in all directions. When allocating stock, don’t forget about vertical space.
23. Ensure that you have specially designated workstations for all the daily tasks. Ergonomically correct working space helps to avoid injuries and speeds up task completion.
24. Ensure you have enough room for receiving orders. Trying to free up space for one order while another order is waiting at your shutter is an unnecessary waste of time.
25. Consider the specifics of your industry. After all, every business is different. For example, if you need to ship the same item to one destination often, you can keep that stock in a specially designated area.
26. Organize your pick-up locations. Make sure that your employees can quickly access orders which need to be shipped to reduce walking time.
27. Classify your stock. There’s no universal answer to how you should do this. Some businesses classify inventory by the container size or frequency of ordering. It’s the first step to creating a convenient warehouse layout.
28. Review your daily work processes and eliminate actions that don’t add value or can be automated. This ensures that operations are made in the shortest time possible.
30. Keep similar stock together. When your stock is allocated based on logic, it’s easier to find and count.
31. Cut travel times when possible. Batch shipping can significantly save you time and costs.
32. Create a shipping list in advance to maximize operational efficiency. It should be based on the type of goods ordered, destination, picking method, and other factors.
33. Reconsider your picking methods. Choose the most appropriate method based on the specific of your inventory and warehouse layout: single order, multi-order, batch picking, or zone picking.
34. Create a list of receiving policies and procedures and follow them strictly. Write down who’s responsible for receiving orders and logging new inventory into your system, where the stock should be allocated, etc.
29. Make sure that picking bins are always available and can be accessed without issue. The lack of necessary equipment can slow down the operation and consequently decrease work efficiency.
35. Make sure that new inventory goes directly into your trailer instead of sitting on pallets until a new order comes in.
36. Size up your order receiving area. Make sure your staff has enough space to move around when receiving and counting orders.
37. Assign tasks to the right people. Keeping track of specific employee performance and analyzing their weaknesses and strengths ensures that daily operations are carried out with the utmost efficiency and quality.
Utilizing Technology for the Warehouse
38. Store your stock information in a structured database. Manual inventory tracking methods have been long since discarded, and adopting technology is no longer an option but rather a necessity. A database provides information about the stock location, amount, delivery schedules, etc.
39. Invest in mobile computers with barcode scanning technology. Devices such as the Honeywell Dolphin CT60 or the GETAC T800 keep your database up-to-date and help ease inventory management. They combine a scanner and a fully functional computer in one compact device.
40. Use technology to sequence new orders. A database provides information on the demand levels of certain items.
41. Implement automatic data collection technology if possible. Utilizing RF barcodes and RFID systems can minimize human error in the data collection process and eliminate the need for additional employees.
42. Use specially designated barcode generating software. It ensures that your barcodes follow the correct numerical order, which improves inventory management accuracy. Creating barcodes using artificial intelligence is also much quicker than doing it manually.
43. Find the right type of barcodes for your stock. Make sure that the barcodes you use feature sufficient data capacity and are easily scannable. Implementing newer, more advanced kinds of barcodes, such as 2D codes, can improve your workflow efficiency.
44. Eliminate paper use and implement technology instead. Paper can be unreliable – it can easily get lost or damaged. Mobile computers can hold all your documentation in one compact device, transfer it to a secure server, and ensure that it’s always safe. You can also invest in rugged devices for the warehouse workers like the CAT S42 H+ or the CAT S62 Pro.
45. Automate your returns. An advanced return management software program allows you to track return data, analyze it, and perform quick returns.
46. Keep safety in mind when organizing your warehouse. Safety should always come before efficiency or capacity. Accidents never improve profit margins. No one ever wants to put employees in danger just to save some space.
47. Print out a floor plan. Convenient navigation is crucial for keeping up the pace of work. A plan is also useful when you need to reevaluate your current warehouse layout. Using a clear top view, than standing amidst heaps of stock, makes it easier to understand how to allocate space.
48. Make sure that your main traffic path is always clear. This may seem obvious advice, but in practice, the traffic area often gets messy during the working day.
49. Make sure your employees can move freely. Adequate aisle width allows your workers to work faster and helps to avoid incidents.
50. Create safe, easy access to higher shelves and far ends of your warehouse and keep them in order. This ensures that your space is utilized properly, and no stock is missed or damaged.
Talk to a Warehousing Technology Expert
Hopefully, with the help of our organizing tips, your warehouse will operate with maximum efficiency. If you wish to implement mobile computer technology in your business, contact Energy Electronics directly to receive a tailored recommendation and bulk quote. We are a premium supplier of mobile logistics devices and we’d love to help you find the best mobile solutions for your business.