Guide to Warehouse Organization
In a warehouse, organization is key. It's important because it increases productivity of operations, makes it easier to find everything, and keeps your employees safe. You know what they say...an organized warehouse is an efficient and productive warehouse. Or at least, we say that.
Warehouse Organization Tips
- Have a good floor plan
- Use vertical racking and shelving
- Have a good labeling system for everything
- ABC method
- The receiving process
- Proper safety organization
- Schedule cleanings
- Use bins and storage units
- Have an organized supply room
Have a good floor plan
Whether you’re organizing your current warehouse or a new one, a smart floor plan is essential.
There are three basic rules to a floor plan:
These are the keys to good organization.
You must understand the amount of inventory you do or will have and create a solid design based off of this information. Figure out how your stock will arrive and leave, and create a floor plan that will help enhance the flow of these operations. Once the plan is created, test your design by taping out work areas to ensure its efficiency.
Use vertical racking
Be sure to utilize vertical storage with a good racking system, as this will help to increase your storage space.
Remember, don’t make your isles too narrow - this makes it harder to get stock and wastes time for employees if they can’t navigate around the lanes. So, be sure your isles are always wide enough, clean and clear of obstacles. And of course, be sure to label the aisles so employees can easily see what goes where.
Have a good labeling system
These days, many companies are using a modern method for labeling their stock - bar codes are helpful for an easy and efficient system of labeling. As long as it makes sense, use whatever method works best for your company to save time and stay organized. Be sure to label everything- and we mean everything! Your stock, your aisles, your floors, and anything else that could benefit from a clear label.
Usually, warehouses label their aisles with letters and numbers. Row A, section 1, Row A, section 2, then Row B, section 1...and so on. Use whatever system of labeling works best for your company.
It also helps to have a fixed parking area for the forklifts when they are not being used and pallet positions on the floor. That way, you can avoid inventory being left in the wrong spots.
Use the ABC Method
The ABC method is a popular one for warehouse organization. Sort your stock into three categories according to how well they sell and how much they cost to hold in your warehouse.
Basically, you are ordering your stock by its dollar volume into three categories. Dollar volume means the volume of inventory used or sold in a year, multiplied by the dollar value per unit.
- A items: These are your best sellers that don’t take up as much space.
- B items: These are mid-range items that sell decently but cost more.
- C items: This is the rest of your inventory that makes up most of your stock costs while contributing the least.
How to use the ABC method:
- Do an inventory survey of all stock in the warehouse
- Know how to organize your warehouse using this method.
- Know your demand and production data from the last 12 months for each item and the cost of per item in your stock.
- Compile a dollar volume list of all stock and what the percentage of each item is out of the total stock dollar volume.
- Identify the first few items that add between 60 to 70 percent of your total stock dollar volume. Those are your A-items. Your B-items are those that make up between 20 to 30 percent. The rest of your items are your C-items.
- Perform regular cycle counts or other inventory control measures for the A and B items.
- Re-arrange your warehouse stock area so the A-items are close to their production line, followed by B and C-items.
Organize the receiving process
It’s important to have a smooth receiving process for your warehouse efficiency. There are a few things you can do to make sure you have timely and organized receiving.
- Optimize receiving space by having the proper tools and enough space to allow employees to sort and store the stock.
- Track inventory in real-time.
- Hire a quality control management to keep things in line and organized. Or at least have someone designated to do this.
- Be sure to keep the receiving area clean and organized.
Proper safety organization
Safety is an absolute must in a warehouse and should be your top priority, so the more your warehouse is clutter free and organized, the better. Be sure to have proper safety precautions and signs around your warehouse where necessary. You can never be too safe!
Keep your warehouse organized by scheduling warehouse cleanings often. You can even assign people to do certain things to maximize efficiency. The most important thing is to clear the isles and make sure everything is in its proper place.
- Be sure to have plenty of trash cans and empty them often.
- Warehouses have many cardboard boxes, bubble wrap, papers, plastic, and more. They need to be recycled or thrown out to prevent anything from being left on the floors.
- Be sure your employees are following all the cleaning protocols each day.
Use bins and storage units
A great way to organize a warehouse is using plenty of bins and storage units for different warehouse supplies and needs. Use different sizes and colors for different types of products and supplies. They can be stack-able to save room and remember to keep like-pieces together.
Lockers are a great way for employees to store their personal belongings in a safe way, along with other supplies.
Have an organized supply room
An organized supply room is essential for efficiency. Have color-coded bins, proper labels, a good checklist to use everyday, and use the space wisely. Make sure everything is easy to find.
Overall, organization keeps your warehouse running smoothly and efficiently. It all starts with the proper pallet racking, along with having a good layout, knowing the basics and keeping the employees safe.