Warehouse efficiency isn’t just about keeping a clean warehouse, it’s about organization and how to use your space efficiently. This can be a big task to undertake, so let’s start with one of the basics – warehouse racking and shelving.
Warehouse shelving can be a minefield, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for or where to begin it can be hard to know what options are out there.
Shelving, racking & storage
Investing in high quality shelving will make you warehouse more efficient. Think of your shelving as the skeleton, that holds everything in place.
Running your warehouse with old shelves? It might be time to consider an upgrade. You should have enough warehouse racking and shelving to fit all your inventory. How organized you keep your inventory depends on what kind of racking system you have.
Select your shelving solutions
Make sure the shelving system you’re using suits your needs. Pallet racking systems are the preferred choice for most people, as they are very durable and safe. This type of warehouse racking also allows you to make the most use of your vertical space. However, there are several types of warehouse racking chose from such as:
- Drive-in or drive-thru racking
- Flow-through racking
- Push back shelving
- Cantilever racks
However, it’s best to consider the size and volume of products that come through your warehouse before making any decisions. Once you have the shelving that best meets your needs installed, label all shelves and areas.
Number and labelling system
By creating a numbering and labelling system for your warehouse shelving, you’ll make it easier to locate inventory. There are several labelling systems that you could use. A good suggestion is to code aisles with letters followed by a number. This would mean the 15th aisle in your warehouse would be A-15. However, you can create any system that make the most sense to you and your operation.
Manage your space
Organizing your warehouse is an on-going task, always improving your strategies. One of these important tasks is optimizing your space. Vertical space utilization is key in warehouses, as horizontal expansion is often expensive, requiring re-modeling.
You can make the most of vertical space by:
- Increasing the height of your storage racks. This is the easiest and most common option. However, it’s important not to exceed manufacturers specifications on height or overload the weight of racking.
- Making your aisles narrower. This can save enough space to create one or more aisles if you’re careful. Be mindful that your aisles will still need to be wide enough for forklifts or other machinery that you use in your warehouse.
- Creating a mezzanine storage as a second floor above the current warehouse space. This can be expensive, but it’s still a cheaper option than expanding horizontally. This can make using a mezzanine a good medium-to-long term solution. In some warehouses where a full mezzanine isn’t a logical choice, installing racks over the dock area can be an option.
- Having a good old-fashioned clear-out is never a bad choice. Keeping old inventory that’s obsolete or damaged can take up a lot of space. Getting rid of old stock can make space that can otherwise be used for new inventory.
Health and safety
It’s important that when considering warehouse shelving and organization you take health and safety into consideration. Most of this is just common sense, such as keeping high-volume items within easy reach. Mitigate lifting injuries by placing heavy or bulky items on pallets. Place these items where it’s easy for forklifts and other machinery to lift and pick these items when needed. The addition of anti-collapse mesh to the back of the pallet racking systems will add an extra level of safety against falling items.
Review your organization
After your reorganization, it’s important to continually review your warehouse regularly. Have conversations with your staff about what is working and what isn’t. Are you maximizing your total warehouse space? Are you happy with your labelling system and picking speed? Make sure you aren’t readjusting thing too often, as it takes time to adjust to new ways of working. For most warehouses a yearly review is plenty.
Need more information?
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you with your warehouse shelving needs.