No matter the industry you work in, proper organization is one of the things that can improve your efficiency the most. This is especially true when dealing with large volumes of materials or items, such as in warehouses, storage facilities and 3PL facilities. In order to ensure your facility is well-organized, and for items to be easy to access for loading and unloading, managers worldwide take advantage of racking or shelving systems.
The most common type of shelving system is pallet rack shelving. This is simply because this shelving system is extremely versatile, easy to install and expand based on future needs. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of benefits industrial pallet racking provides for your storage facility. Here are some of the less obvious ones.
Benefits of Pallet Racking
Save Time and Increase Productivity
The main reason for investing in pallet rack shelving is to save time and increase employee productivity, without adding extra strain on employees. Organizing items, ensuring they’re in the right location and easily accessible can go a long way in improving workflow. Fluid workflow is especially important in storage facilities where the speed of fulfilling orders should be as fast as possible. On top of this, well-organized facilities ensure order accuracy. Having everything stored and labelled properly can help employees identify and find what they’re after conveniently and quickly. This can minimize mistakes, and thus, unnecessary revenue losses.
Increased Safety, Reduced Product Loss and Theft
A wrong move in a storage facility can potentially lead to loss of valuable property or worse, invaluable lives. A poorly organized storage facility increases the risk significantly. Making sure your storage facility is properly organized with everything where it’s supposed to be can prevent workplace injuries. On top of that, disorganized storage facilities can become a breeding ground for theft. Not implying your employees are potential thieves, but there’s always the chance of things going missing without anyone noticing. In fact, billions of dollars are lost to theft in warehouse facilities every year. In order to ensure your storage facility doesn’t add to that number, you should consider better organization and security checks.
Other Ways to Improve Organization
Using the ABC analysis method to organize your warehouse can provide you with increased productivity and efficiency. The method includes organizing your inventory based on the speed with which your products move. You want your fastest moving products to be near the shipping area and easily accessible. These are generally your best-selling and most profitable items, which can make up for the majority of the total movement in your daily operations. The fastest-moving items are your A-items. The B-items are items that sell frequently and make up about 20-30% of your entire stock. C-items are slow-moving items and make up a minority of the total movement and stock.
Stock Items at the Appropriate Height
Your popular and fast-moving items should be placed at a shoulder-to-waist height to make picking them up easy. This also ensures that the process can be done manually, without the help of any extra material handling equipment, such as ladders, forklifts, trolleys, etc. However, if you don’t have material handling equipment, you should definitely consider getting some.
If you’re on a tight budget, trolleys can provide tons of value. There are many different types of trolleys suitable for a variety of applications, so you can choose based on the type of products you deal with on a daily basis. If you’ve got the resources, you can get forklifts, which work great in combination with pallet rack systems, as pallet racking allows for easy access to the items, and the forklifts can reach up relatively high on the rack.
Label and Color Code Properly
Labelling all your products can improve the workflow in a very efficient manner. It can help reduce search times and the risk of errors, as your employees won’t have to rely on memory when looking for a particular item. Every SKU should be labelled consistently and clearly when you receive it for easy identification. Furthermore, you can color code entire areas based on product type, helping employees find the general location of the product they’re searching for faster. For instance, red racks can be your A-items, blue racks can be your B-items and yellow racks can be your C-items.
Optimize Your Processes
Optimizing all the processes in your facility can play a huge role in improving productivity. Having access to real-time information, ensuring quality control and automatic as many of your processes as possible are some ways to improve productivity and workflow. The six most important processes to optimize are receiving, putting away, storing, picking, packing and shipping items. There are many different ways you can do so. For instance, you can implement electric material handling equipment, automatic packaging and strapping solutions, etc. You can also switch from dealing with paperwork to electronic files, which can benefit your administrative workflow. While it may seem like a hassle initially, having digital backups is more convenient and affordable.
Maintaining and Cleaning Your Facility
While it may seem like a no-brainer, a lot of managers underestimate the importance of having a clean facility with proper cable organization. You can use cable protectors and covers, as well as cord clips and ramps to manage your cabling to ensure your facility is as clean and safe as can be. Also, you can take advantage of cable identification ties to identify which cables can be unplugged if the need arises. Furthermore, cleaning your warehouse regularly will give a strong sense of organization and safety, which can improve employee job satisfaction.
Ensuring your facility is well-organized will allow you to get a feeling of order and structure, allowing for higher efficiency and productivity as a result. I hope that the benefits and ideas listed above can be of some help and inspire you to aspire towards having a well-maintained and organized warehouse not just for efficiency purposes, but for improving the safety of everyone who has to move and work in it.