Inventory software management is integral for disbursing orders and managing your inventory flow. But at the end of the day, sometimes good old fashioned organization is the best way to improve your efficiency.
Even the best system can be tripped up if your warehouse organization is messy. So how do you design your physical warehouse space for maximum efficiency? Below we cover six quick tips for how to get your warehouse space up to par.
Structure Around What You Do
Warehouse management is not universal, and there are very few approaches that can fully work for every business type without being extremely vague. You need to grasp what your business does on a daily basis and design around that intent. Are you doing light assembly on site? How about large product shifting requiring vehicular warehouse equipment? These are two big examples, but there are many that are much smaller but still provide a big impact. Create your surrounding warehouse space around what you do. If that means making huge changes, do it. It will be worth it.
Key Units and Size Metrics
Your key units are your largest (albeit still necessary) items. Key units could be product or they could be warehouse conveniences, like shelving or production workspaces. Regardless, key units should be positioned and labeled first because they take up enough space to dominate the warehouse.
Product is usually divided into three categories, though there are many ways to divide contents. A common division is Class A, B, and C, with A being top priority and high-selling products and C being excess stock and poor or seasonal sellers.
There are subcategories involved in this organization. For example, you may have light household items, heavy items (requiring bottom row placement), assembly required, overstock, raw materials, and more.
To organize the structure of your warehouse, consider product placement and importance. This approach will save you innumerable hours circling the warehouse and jumping around.
Organize with Equipment and Moving in Mind
Your product placement and positioning is important, of course. But what should take precedent over your product is your equipment. In other words, how you get around is often as or more important than where you put your product.
Obviously, the two often go hand in hand. But in designing your new warehouse, place a heavy emphasis on mobility and shifting. One big consideration is aisle width. If you can’t effectively get down the aisle with the right equipment, it does not matter what is housed down there- you aren’t getting to it. Prioritize workspace position, aisle length, and general mobility to maximize efficiency.
<span”>Every area, regardless of importance, needs formal labeling. Even with small warehouses, you need a systematic method to organize your contents into logically-labeled subareas. Keep your system concise and easy to explain. Even if you only have a few products in the meantime, your organization method can scale up accordingly. Don’t be afraid to micro-label. For example, you can add a specific label for a side of the shelf (left or right).
Don’t hesitate to utilize overhead storage and maximize the shelf space you do have.
Apply Shelf Breathing Room
Account for breathing room. This includes extra spacing shelves for unexpected reorders or just general openness as you navigate tight aisles. The moment you start bleeding product into the wrong area or putting product on the floor, you open up an organizational can of worms you may have a hard time getting out of.