Is your warehouse layout helping or hindering operations?

The layout of the warehouse makes a significant difference in how quickly and accurately orders are processed. Many warehouse owners and managers are so caught up in the day-to-day operations of the warehouse that they don’t step back to analyse the layout to see if it is hindering or helping the operations.

What does the perfect warehouse layout achieve?

The ideal layout achieves five aims:

1. Maximises the available space
2. Minimises the number of times goods are handled
3. Enables easy access to stored items
4. Is flexible
5. Has plenty of working space

Make a drawing of the current warehouse layout and get a sense of whether it fulfils the above five aims.

Consider the different areas

Most warehouses have the following five areas:

1. Office space for administration and management
2. A goods receiving area
3. Storage areas for goods after they have been received
4. Packing area
5. Dispatch area

Look at the flow of items from the receiving area, the storage area and the packing station to the dispatch area. The layout should support this flow.

Each area needs to be large enough to fulfil its function. The storage area is normally the largest area, and the office the smallest. When reorganising the layout, it may be helpful to adjust the size of each area.

Talk to staff

Many managers and business owners rarely take part in the day-to-day operations of the warehouse. For example, they don’t pick and pack orders. Viewing the warehouse layout from afar, it is easy to miss features that are not right with the layout. It’s important to talk to the people that work every day in the warehouse. What areas of the layout do they think can be improved? This direct feedback can provide valuable insights into how to change the layout to be more effective.

Reorganising the storage layout

If careful examination of the layout finds aspects that can be improved, it’s time for some reorganisation. One of the first areas to look at is how goods are stored. It may seem logical to store similar items together, but it can be more efficient to store goods according to their demand, A simple system stores high-demand goods near packing stations, mid-demand items further away and low-demand items farthest from the packing station. This system reduces the average picking journey time and increases the number of orders that can be handled each day.

Warehouse equipment

If the warehouse layout needs reorganising, it’s also time to assess the warehouse equipment. Is it time to replace older trolleys with newer and better-designed ones? Does the packing table make it easy to access all packing materials? Steely Products can help with this. Invite us to your warehouse for an assessment of your equipment needs. We supply warehouse storing and handling equipment that makes warehouse operations more efficient. Give us a call or use the form below to arrange a meeting for your equipment requirements.

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    Posted by Katrina
    2nd June 2021
    Retail & Warehousing

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