- Workflow and space utilization can be optimized by using layout design and zoning.
- Stockouts and overstocking can be avoided and accuracy can be improved by giving inventory management and tracking top priority.
- Conveyor belts and other pieces of equipment for automation, as well as forklifts, can boost productivity while lowering labor expenses.
- Accidents and injuries can be decreased by putting safety measures and rules into practice, such as routine inspections and training.
Warehouse managers across the globe have always been busy trying to learn how to organize a warehouse for operational efficiency. Although, despite their best efforts, they still might have overlooked a couple of areas where they could improve.
The latest statistics say that the average cost of running a warehouse amounts to $7.91 per square foot. With the cost of running a warehouse being steadily on the rise, it becomes imperative for warehouses to start looking for ways to cut down on operational costs and inefficiencies.
A warehouse space might have implemented most of these tips already, though some always manage to slip through. This is where a list of tips for warehouse managers could come in handy as they highlight a lot of areas for improvement at once.
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10 Tops Tips for Better Warehouse Organization
Below are some beneficial tips to organize a warehouse for boosting your productivity and efficiency level.
1. Use maps for easier navigation
It takes a brutally long time for new warehouse staff to get accustomed to any new warehouse. This obviously affects the overall speed of warehouse operations. In such circumstances, many warehouse operators choose to create maps to aid in the navigation of warehouse employees.
Usually maps also do a great job of streamlining operations because the floor space can be categorized easily allowing employees to quickly find what they need. It is a relatively affordable option that can help your employees do their tasks easily.
2. Integrate more labels and identifiers
Much like maps, a labeling system or other identifiers allow warehouse employees to complete their tasks faster and keep things organized. Warehouses are known to use different identifiers to further aid the efficiency of their warehouse layout.
One of these identifiers is color codes that indicate where certain items are kept. This form of visual classification is elementary to implement yet can help you to manage your employees and stock more efficiently.
3. Use dividers and bins to sort things effectively
It is a shame that dividers do not get the attention that they deserve in warehouses. Dividers not only help you utilize warehouse storage space more efficiently but also help you organize and separate items that are small enough to fit in the same storage containers.
You also might want to invest in bins of assorted sizes to house a variety of goods in an organized manner on the same racks. Stackable shelf bins are a great option if you have limited floor space but a lot of vertical space available.
4. Refine care for returned packages
Packages being returned is a commonplace occurrence in any warehouse but the warehouse management system does not do a good job of handling those packages. This negligent picking process can lead to a myriad of issues such as damaged or misplaced goods.
Often warehouses simply stack returned goods at a random spot. Because they are in a new position, they are prone to get misplaced or damaged by warehouse staff. This is why you need to heed caution during the receiving process.
5. Document all shipped and returned packages
To prevent these packages from being misplaced by warehouse workers, it is your job to keep their positions well documented. Most warehouses already document shipped packages but do not do the same for returned goods.
This highlights a major discrepancy in the way that different packages are handled at a warehouse which should not be the case. Returned packages are equally important to document as they could lead to major losses for a warehouse.
6. Refrain from overstocking your warehouse inventory
It is not difficult to overstock a storage system which is why it is very important to make sure that you do not overstock your inventory system. Even if your floor plan can physically accommodate the extra packages, it is still not a good idea to have a messy warehouse.
As far as warehouse inventory management is concerned, you need to have a lot of inventory control to ensure that your warehouse can function properly. The wasted space inside is not worth worrying over if it hinders your warehouse operations.
7. Clean the warehouse space regularly
To allow for smooth warehouse operations, it is essential for you to keep your warehouse clean. When you perform regular maintenance it becomes easier for you to look after it in a more efficient manner. It also helps you maintain the organization of your inventory counts.
A clean warehouse can help employees do their tasks at a faster pace as they get more visibility. When you have clean storage units, the packages that you deliver are also in a better condition allowing you to gain better customer satisfaction.
8. Have more aisle space in your warehouse layout
An efficient warehouse design always has enough aisle space to ensure smooth mobility. While this can be difficult to implement in your own warehouse due to less available space. Though this is a must-have for any new warehouse design layout.
An Ideal warehouse layout primarily focuses on making the packages move around the warehouse efficiently. This is especially true if your warehouse works with bigger shipping containers that need a lot of room to be transported.
9. Train your staff to use relevant technology
Many warehouses have already started taking their inventory organization to the next level by implementing modern technology to keep track of packages. They use durable bar codes on storage shelves and floors where they are needed to allow for quick identification and navigation.
Such technologies can drastically increase inventory movement speeds. This is why you need to ensure that your staff is trained to use these devices. They also prevent inventory errors as they help you keep track of all interactions.
10. Use a route planner for dispatching goods
If you dispatch goods from the warehouse all by yourself then it is vital that you start using a route planner to alleviate the stress of planning delivery routes. When you get the right route planner, you can basically have it do all the work for you.
A warehouse can also reduce the cost of transportation if they have efficient delivery routes. Such software solutions are great for any business that conducts a lot of deliveries.
Why is Warehouse Organization Important?
Warehouse organization is essential because it allows you to boost your workhouse’s overall productivity. Most warehouse organization tips are simple changes that can truly minimize the time taken by regular warehouse processes.
An organized warehouse can also help you integrate more supplies with the same floor space making it crucial for those that have limited warehouse space. There are also a few unsung benefits to warehouse organization that are equally if not more important for owners.
One of these benefits is the ease of inventory management. When you have an organized warehouse it becomes very easy to keep tabs on your inventory. With the right warehouse management, warehouses can prevent losses caused by misplaced or damaged goods.
Challenges Faced by Warehouse Managers
1. Rising costs of storage
Warehouses in densely populated areas struggle to keep costs low because of the price it takes to afford storage areas. Such warehouses are usually working with little physical space and are constantly being packed. As a result, it difficult for owners to maintain organization.
Space utilization is paramount at such facilities because of which regular space evaluation takes place. Typically these facilities run at maximum capacity leaving little to no usable space. Changing the warehouse layout can only help these warehouses to a certain extent.
2. Lack of skilled labors
The biggest gripe among warehouse owners is how difficult it is to find skilled employees that are up to the task of running a warehouse. This is an issue that affects the supply chain as a whole and is quickly turning into a global issue.
While warehouses are looking at automation to replace their dependency on human labor, it is going to be a slow and expensive change. Pair this with issues such as the global pandemic and it shows how difficult the time is for warehouses globally.
3. Difficult management
Even if you have ample space and workers it can still be difficult to manage your warehouse. This is because of the inherent nature of warehouse processes. Warehouses are constantly processing shipping and incoming inventory at a fast rate.
This makes it hard to keep track of each and every movement of a package in the warehouse. If a warehouse also ships packages, then it is equally difficult to plan routes for shipments. Poorly planned routes can not only cause delays but also increase fuel costs.
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There are not a lot of solid qualifiers that make an employee ideal but to ensure the smooth flow of operations a warehouse employee must at least possess the following traits and skills.
- Proper organization
- Full knowledge of warehouse processes
- Works within safety protocols
- Physically capable to do the job
While the ways to increase warehouse space are limited, you can still achieve space maximization by simply organizing your warehouse. You can increase the storage capacity in your warehouse with the following techniques.
- Use pallet racks
- Use dividers and bins for smaller items
- Clean your warehouse frequently
- Discard older stock
- Practice better inventory management
The key to making a warehouse successful is to first prepare your warehouse to have enough storage space to accommodate any potential client. Once you have the goods, the next thing to do is to have great customer satisfaction by providing on-time deliveries and avoiding damaging goods.
Most issues that affect the efficiency of a warehouse have to do with internal processes. Factors such as a messy layout or extra inventory can all cause delays and mishaps in a warehouse. Below are the most common factors that cause delays in a warehouse are as follows.
- Cluttered warehouse
- Improper package storage
- Lack of labels and other identifiers
- Limited interior mobility
- Poor space utilization
- Misplaced packages
- Cramped packaging spaces
Looking at the current condition of warehouses, it is apparent that the storage systems that are currently in place require advancements to function at peak efficiency. Warehouse owners realize this fact and constantly look for new warehouse organization ideas to improve their own warehouses.
While the physical layout of the warehouse is difficult to change for most warehouses, it is still not over as there are other ways to organize your warehouse to make it more efficient. Generally, the best thing to do for your warehouse is to provide easy access to employees. This usually keeps the warehouse running smoothly.
Though having Upper handle your delivery routes is inarguably good as it can save you a lot of time and money at once. Using Upper, you can basically forget the stress of route planning and optimization. We recommend you see the capabilities of Upper by trying our 7-day free trial.