06 Jul Six Areas to Focus on for Improved Warehouse Flow and Efficiency
A well-organized warehouse is essential to a successful business. Employees work more safely and efficient customers get their orders filled accurately and delivered on time. And both of those factors impact your bottom line.
In this article, we’ll examine six areas where you can improve the flow of your warehouse and maximize productivity. Warehouses have a great deal of moving parts. As you consider each of these areas, we recommend making a drawing that helps you assess the current flow and how it might be improved for greater efficiency.
- Loading and unloading zones.(These areas may be located outside your warehouse) The main questions to ask for these areas of your operation are: Do you have adequate space, and is the space organized for an efficient workflow?
When determining how much space you need for this area, consider how many doors or docks you have, how frequently you receive shipments, and the average size of your shipments.
- Receiving area. Your receiving area should be a separate location from the active loading and unloading zone. Dedicate this space to inspecting goods, counting, sorting, and performing quality control.
After performing these steps, your employees will split the goods as needed and assign them a storage location.
- Storage space. Most of your warehouse space is probably used for storage. However, since every business is different, you should configure your warehouse storage space according to your specific needs.
Here are some of the many factors to consider when determining how much storage space you need and how your storage systems need to be set up:
- Type of products stored
- Size and weight of products
- Size and weight of pallets
- Number of pallets
- Turnover rate of product
- Flammability of product/Special Handling Needs
- Varieties of products (how many SKUs)
- Rotation needs (first-in, first-out or FIFO)
- Ability to locate a specific pallet or need
- Density requirements
- Stackability (bricks can be stacked without racking)
- Forklift reach and turning radius
- Picking area. (not required for all warehouses) If your business fills and ships orders with numerous items from different locations in the warehouse, you need a picking area. Employees can handle the picking manually, or there are many automated options for this process. You also might consider adding products such as conveyors, rollers, carts, bins, and totes to add efficiency to the picking process.
- Packaging, shipping, and distribution. This area of your warehouse is where products go after workers pull them from the shelves. Consider it a staging area for the following items:
- Products that are ready to ship to customers
- Items from storage that are needed to restock store shelves
- Items to move to another warehouse or location
There should be a second quality control step in this area to ensure all products have been pulled correctly and are ready for distribution.
- Support areas. These parts of the warehouse are focused on your employees. They include offices, restrooms, lockers, break rooms, and equipment storage. In an efficient warehouse, these rooms are located within close proximity of each other to save time and minimize extra walking.
Now that you’ve mapped out these six areas of your warehouse, you’ve probably seen some areas that need some changes to make things run more smoothly. At Speedrack West, we are here to help you every step of the way in your warehouse design project. Let’s work together to make your warehouse flow seamlessly.