Warehouses are at the heart of supply chain. They are the buffer between production facilities and retail stores, ensuring a steady flow of goods, finely tuned to match customer demand. In this context, warehouse organization is the key to maintaining this delicate balance between inflow and outflow of consumer goods.
As most warehouse managers know, space is at a premium in warehouse. Also, merchandize handling must be constantly optimized in terms of speed, safety and damage prevention. This is where smart strategies in warehouse organization make the difference. When you plan your warehouse design, operations and management, you need to take into account both present and future needs.
Where Do You Start with Warehouse Organization?
The first place to start is your business and market data. Also, you should be able to rely on shared data from key stakeholders, such as your retail network, packaging providers and shipping partners.
Using business acumen and smart tools, you can create a clear picture of what you are doing now and whether it is in line with what your customers want. At Logistic Packaging, our expert consultants have frequently seen situation where simple issues, such as outdated packaging or unreliable labeling systems led to inadequate warehouse organization.
Therefore, we will share some of our insights and know-how on this topic to help warehouse managers create a successful warehouse organization plan for the present and for the future:
1. Your First Priority: Optimize Order Picking
Order picking is the number one activity any warehouse manager should be focusing on. The future of your business depends on being able to prepare orders for shipping quickly, error-free and efficiently.
This means that you need to analyze everything involved in this process:
- The shipping totes you use for order picking
- The labeling system that allows employees to identify items
- The material handling equipment you use to reduce manual labor and accidents.
2. Effective Warehouse Organization for Small Spaces: Take Advantage of Height
Some warehouses do not have a large footprint, but make up for it in height. Yet, there are managers that do not use every inch of space to its maximum potential.
Thanks to racking systems, forklifts and other logistic machinery, storing plastic pallets or large rigid containers high up is no longer a problem. You will not endanger your employees’ health to reach for them; instead they will safely operate a motorized vehicle to load and unload goods on the racks.
3. Create an Efficient Traffic Flow for People and Goods
Warehouse space can be also used more efficiently if you rethink motorized and pedestrian traffic, as well as the size of aisles. This can be easily done by choosing modern packaging solutions, designed to save space and withstand handling by automated devices. You can reduce the width of aisles, reassign areas that used to store empty packaging materials and improve the speed of getting merchandize in and out of the warehouse.
You can also color code traffic routes, so that pedestrians and operators of warehouse vehicles do not cross paths, causing accidents. Another way to optimize traffic flow is to adopt the Kanban system for your inventory, allowing you to be sufficiently stocked to honor each order on time. At the same time, you avoid overstocking, which may lead to losses caused by expired and obsolete inventory.
4. Plan Your Packaging Strategy for Future Needs
Reusable packaging is the solution to optimize operational costs. These plastic packaging materials are designed for long term, intensive use and low maintenance costs. Thus, once you order a batch of plastic pallets, foldable containers or stackable and nestable boxes, you expect to use them for years to come.
This is why you need to work with a knowledgeable packaging producer. After they understand your operations and plans for future developments, the packaging experts at Logistic Packaging can recommend the best solutions for your warehouse. We do not focus on making a big sale, but on building a long term relationship with our clients. Thus, our packaging recommendations are sometimes less costly than the customer requested in the first place.
5. Implement a Robust Warehouse Management System
In the 21st century, the goal is to work smarter, not harder. Managers have many intelligent devices and software suites available, including a comprehensive range of warehouse management systems (WMS).
However, you need to be careful in selecting a solution that can truly improve your operations and help you understand the big picture. In our experience, the best way to achieve that is to involve all the stakeholders in creating a comprehensive RFP and evaluating the offers.
The team of experts at Logistic Packaging is ready to help you with actionable advice for warehouse organization and professional packaging solutions. Send us an email or schedule a Skype video call to discuss your business goals and the ways we can help you achieve them!