When people think of organization, they often think of rearranging and grouping like items together. As a warehouse owner, you know that there is a lot more to warehouse organization than that. An organized and high-functioning warehouse maximizes productivity and profits by increasing efficiency and improving safety. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the warehousing and storage industry experiences almost 15,000 injuries and illnesses every year. This is a concern for all warehouse owners like you. Here is a list of 5 things you can do to improve the organization of your warehouse to help prevent injuries and improve efficiency in your business.
1. Don't Create A Maze
Have you ever noticed that bookstores, grocery stores, and libraries all place their inventory in neat rows with each section clearly labeled? This is because it makes it easy for workers and customers to find what they need, maximizes floor space, and looks neat. Line your pallet racks up in rows, with access to products from both sides. Then clearly label each row of pallets to make it easy for your employees and/or customers to find items quickly and easily. It also means pickers won't have to continuously bother supervisors by asking where items are located.
You can also make signs to direct workers and customers through the warehouse so everyone is moving in the same direction. Just like a roadway, when traffic flows in the same direction, there is a reduction in the risk of accidents.
2. Place Popular Products Closest To The Shipping Area
Designate a section that is close to the shipping area for all your most popular products. This will make it easier for your personnel to get the items, and will give your customers faster shipping times. The few minutes saved by moving between the product and shipping areas will add up quickly and you'll notice a reduction in labor costs. Best of all, your employees will think you are very considerate.
3. Label Everything
Place product labels below each item on the racks. This makes it much easier for stockers to fill the racks, and for pickers to find the appropriate items and prepare them for shipping. This will greatly reduce errors because every item in your warehouse will have a place, and every item can easily be found. This will also save you time from having to put out fires due to product mismanagement in the future.
4. Place Many Waste Bins Throughout The Warehouse
Put as many waste bins and recycle bins around the warehouse as possible. Since there is always a lot of bubble wrap, plastic wrap, cardboard boxes, papers, and other similar items that constantly need to be disposed of, having a place close by to throw them away will keep your warehouse looking neat. It also reduces the risk of injury, because people won't have to worry about tripping over garbage left on the floor or getting plastic caught in machinery. These bins should be emptied regularly to prevent overflow and keep the warehouse tidy.
5. Assign Employees To Specific Zones
Divide the warehouse up into zones and then assign 1 or 2 employees to be responsible for each zone. Take into consideration which employees are specialized in certain areas of the warehouse. Then make it a rule that these workers must clean up their zones before they leave for the day. That means making sure the pallet racks are stocked for the next day, the floor has been swept, all garbage has been picked up off the floor and waste bins are empty.
You can also optimize labor time by having employees spend time cleaning their zones and equipment on slow days. Use a rate sheet and inspect the areas on a regular basis. Then give employees a reward or credit for having high ratings and some type of penalty for having a low rating. The reward can be as simple as the ability to leave an hour early on a Friday in the summer. The penalty would be not being able to leave early on that next Friday.
These are 5 things you can do to organize your warehouse. If you make these changes to your warehouse operation, you'll also increase safety and efficiency in your building. And, in turn, you'll see an increase in company profits. If you have any questions about warehouse organization, contact your local pallet rack company. They'd be happy to help you. You can continue reading more about this topic in the link in this sentence.