Business is booming like crazy and you are long past the days of being a small company keeping limited stock in a garage. Demand for your goods and services is increasing daily and you can be proud to say you’ve grown so much as to be in need of your very own warehouse.
But a new warehouse comes with a new set of problems. The more stock coming in, the more difficult it is to keep track of it all and store it in an organized manner.
So, unless you have a smart organization system in place, your warehouse can quickly turn into a chaotic space that can affect workers’ efficiency and safety.
Although every warehouse is different, there are a few crucial factors to consider in order to create a well-organized workspace. Having functional shelving units and arranging them properly will allow you to make the most of your available space and store your stock in a way that makes it easy to retrieve.
And this, in turn, can help create a safer environment and boost the productivity of your team members. That being said, here are some smart organization tips that every warehouse can benefit from.
Invest in the Right Shelving Solutions
At the heart of every warehouse are storage shelves. They allow you to stock your inventory on rows as high as the ceiling, allowing you to make the most of your space.
On the market, there are various types of shelving to choose from. In order to make the right pick, you need to consider the following factors.
Durability – Damaged inventory can cost you a lot. To prevent accidents from happening, it’s crucial to invest in sturdy and reliable storage units that won’t easily fall down or break and cause your inventory to get damaged. For that reason, steel storage units happen to be the most popular type for warehouses.
This is because steel is a highly robust material while also being affordable to purchase in bulk amounts. Additionally, a galvanized finish can protect the storage units from environmental factors such as humidity or high heat, thus helping to prolong their durability.
Suitability – Of course, you also need to consider whether the design of the shelves is suitable for your inventory. That being said, standard shelves are most commonly used for storing goods packed in boxes.
On the other hand, if you need to store irregular awkward or long items such as PVC and steel pipes, carpet rolls, plasterboard, windows and doors, and similar things, cantilever racking will be the most efficient solution.
If you plan to receive and ship heavy loads stored on pallets, then pallet racks are a must-have for your warehouse. This way you can efficiently store pallets with goods on them as well as empty pallets.
Weight Capacity – Your shelving systems need to be able to withstand the weight of the items stored on them. So, before buying, make sure to ask the supplier about the weight that each arm on the shelves can support.
In general, you can choose from lightweight storage solutions with the capacity to keep up to 100kg of weight on each arm to medium-duty units that can support up to 450kg and heavy-duty racking that can withstand up to 1250kg.
Adaptability – Over time, the size and shape of your inventory can change. You can start selling larger goods that can’t fit in the rows or you could end up with smaller goods and a lot of empty space between rows that are left unused.
For that reason, it could be smart to invest in adjustable shelves and pallets. The many holes and screws in adjustable units will allow you to modify the number of rows and the size of the gap between them so that you can store the goods in a more space-efficient manner.
Mobility – Thanks to their innovative design, mobile compacting shelves units can allow you to increase your floor space significantly. The way these shelves succeed in this is by removing the need for aisles between separate shelving units.
Each unit is placed on a mobile carriage that can move along the floor, instantly opening up an aisle when you need one. However, it’s important to note that these mobile storage units can only be used for keeping lightweight goods and materials.
If you were to store heavier things on them, the separate units won’t be able to move easily. Consult with your storage solutions supplier whether these kinds of shelves are suitable for your stock.
Plan Your Layout Carefully
Once you have an idea of what kind of warehouse shelves you need, don’t just wander into your warehouse and start throwing them here and there solely based on your whim.
You will need to have a floor plan in place that will not only take into account how to fit more stock in less space but also how employees can easily access the stock and whether there’s enough room for them to efficiently move the goods.
You should also consider other things like where receiving and shipping will take place, where the manager’s office is going to be and where the break room. In any case, take your time to come up with a good layout plan that works best for your needs.
Use Labels and Signs
Once you have all your shelves and racks and have successfully implemented your layout plan, consider labeling to make your warehouse easy to navigate.
Lable everything in the warehouse, from rows of shelving units to different products and separate sections of the warehouse. Use easy to read and large signs to turn an otherwise complicated maze of shelves and racks into an organized system where nothing can get lost.
Keep Track of Inventory with Barcode Technology
And finally, make sure to use some type of barcode technology to effectively manage inventory. Barcodes and barcode scanners will give employees a real-time glimpse into the state of the inventory so that they can track each and every product that is sold. This way, they will instantly know whether some group of products needs to be replenished.