During the busy winter season, keeping your warehouse productive is essential to growing sales. You don’t want overwhelmed workers, which means maintaining efficiency in all aspects of your operation. Here are five ways to boost warehouse productivity to prevent slowdowns or breaks in your system:
1) Clear the aisles. Throw away clutter that takes up space you could be using for storage. Make sure all empty boxes and packing material are thrown away or recycled and maintain a system to keep them clear every shift. Less clutter means, not just better efficiency but improved worker safety.
2) Organize, organize, organize. How better to get your picks moving than to keep your racks and shelves organized? Make sure your products are displayed clearly using tilted trays or knuckled tracks. Clear space to make it easier to replenish supplies. Conduct regular aisle checks to make sure your pickers have clear vision of what goes where.
3) Optimize your layout. Are you using your floor space as efficiently as possible? Learn from previous winter seasons and put your fastest-selling items closer to your pickers. Stock inventory that is frequently sold together in the same area rather than storing them far apart. Organize areas by their rate of sale. Overall, make sure your layout reflects maximum efficiency.
4) Reduce travel time. Find ways to reduce the steps your pickers make to locate and move inventory. Invest in conveyors or sortation units. Combine smaller orders into single travel paths. Track warehouse areas that are traveled the most and create optimized solutions to reduce travel in those locations.
5) Optimize your SKUs. Organize your warehouse floor according to each SKU so your pickers no longer have to sort through multiple SKUs to find just one. Use the SKUs to track patterns — how often it is touched, the distance the picker will need to travel to retrieve it, etc. Reorganize to keep the items in the most optimal location possible.
How do you keep your warehouse organized? What tips have you discovered work best? Did you know your WMS can help you get and stay organized?