Warehouse inventory management lies at the heart of maintaining an adequate facility. Everything from proper inventory control to how you have your stock organized determines how smoothly your warehouse functions.
Even if you think your facility operates well, you can always improve, especially if you have aspirations of growth. By implementing these ideas, you can make the most of the space you have.
Consider these tips and storage ideas for organizing your warehouse. These tips will not only help to organize the inventory throughout your warehouse, but it will also work to improve overall efficiency:
- Use information labels and use photos of products
- Store products sold together near each other
- Keep best selling products close to the front
- Make clear aisles throughout the warehouse
- Stack inventory higher to make use of vertical space
- Use mobile shelving units for seasonal products
- Use stacking bins for smaller products
- Reduce the number of shipping container sizes
- Provide enough space in the receiving area
- Continually seek organization improvement opportunities
How Do You Organize a Warehouse?
If you’re struggling with how to organize your warehouse more efficiently, consider the following warehouse organization ideas and tips from industry leaders and warehouse authorities. While we have listed the tips in no particular order, we have grouped them into categories to make it easier for you to jump to the tips that are of most interest to you.
- Keep Your Warehouse Clean:
Allocating an hour or two per week, or even per month, to cleaning the warehouse can lead to amazing improvement in your efficiency. You never know what missing or misplaced orders you might find. In addition a clean warehouse means employees can move around more quickly and get things done easier.
- Reduce Clutter.
An unorganized or messy warehouse indicates to visitors, suppliers, and staff that efficiency is lacking. It might even communicate that potential revenue is being lost, warehouse staff members are overwhelmed, or even that company morale is suffering.
- Adopt Lean Inventory Practices:
Maintaining a lean inventory means that you only keep around what you actually need and nothing more. This gives your workers fewer products to sift through when organizing freight, completing order fulfillment services, and more.
Try reducing your safety stocks, if possible, or see if you can get your suppliers to deliver smaller loads on a more frequent basis. As long as the costs add up correctly, you can greatly improve your efficiency with a lean inventory.
- Organize For Safety.
When it comes down to it, safety is priority when it comes to a warehouse – after safety, you can think about efficiency. The last thing you want to do is put your warehouse workers in danger – just to boost your profit margins. When it comes down to it, a safe warehouse is an efficient warehouse.
- Assess Shelf and Space Utilization:
When trying to look for ways to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, a good plan is to understand the way that shelves and space are being utilized. The placement of shelves and containers, along with the traffic patterns and total design of the building ultimately affects the ability for you to utilize any space available.
- Customize Organization Based On Your Industry:
Every organization system should be customized for a business’s specific industry. Sometimes multiple items will be shipped at the same time to the same destination; keeping all of those items in the same area helps all employees quickly locate their entire shipment and load it on the truck.
On the other hand, if individual packages need to be sent out to different destinations try out different organizational systems to find what works best for your operation.
- Reduce The Amount Of Shipping Containers:
Minimizing the number of shipping containers used in the warehouse seems like a small step in the process to streamline your operations, though it is an important one to increase staff productivity. You may think that having several different sizes and shapes for shipping containers can eliminate waste, but it can also slow down the workers who have to pick and choose which containers will be the right size for certain products.
- Keep Track Of Inventory Error Rates:
Even in the most efficient and organized warehouse, pick and pack errors will be made from time to time. Keeping track of what kinds of mistakes are being made, and how often, can provide key insights into areas where there might be room for improvement.
- Regularly Train Warehouse Staff:
There are two solutions required to keep a warehouse organized. The first is to do regular trainings with your warehouse staff on the importance of keeping the warehouse organized, and using the tools in place to keep the inventory system up to date.
Keeping the warehouse organized becomes part of the corporate culture when it is the subject of mandatory training sessions.
- Reevaluate Your Design:
No matter how organized you may be, if your company sales are increasing each year, you will eventually need a new warehouse design layout or even a whole new warehouse to relocate to. It is recommended that this space evaluation takes place about every three to five years, depending on the rate at which your company notably increases sales. As your company’s sales (hopefully) increase every year, this means space requirements in your warehouse will naturally need revising over time.