Warehouse Organization Ideas You Can Use
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 3 million instances of injuries and illnesses occurred in the workplace in 2014, with injuries accounting for 95.1 percent of those reported instances. Fatal work injuries increased by 2 percent in 2014 compared to a year earlier, reaching an estimated total of 4,679 deaths. Tripping, falling and slipping are responsible for most general industry accidents that occur in a given year and cause 15 percent of all accidental workplace deaths and 25 percent of all workplace injury claims. These accidents in the workplace cause workers to lose 95 million workdays every year.
Providing your employees with equipment and organization to better perform their job duties on a daily basis will help to reduce injury and workplace mishaps. A clean and organized workplace provides many mutual benefits to both the employee and the company, including:
- Improved Accuracy: When your warehouse is organized, your employees will know where to look for the products they need to fulfill orders instead of having to wander through aisles to find them. This increases order fulfillment throughput and reduces the frequency of orders fulfilled improperly.
- Increased Productivity: Order pickers spend approximately 60 percent of their time on the clock walking or moving products around. You can decrease the time they spend traveling in your warehouse by putting the products they need most often closest to the packing station. Position those products in the waist-to-shoulder area, so pickers can quickly and safely access them. For example, vertical carousels like these ensure that the products is visible and moves to the employee, reducing the time spent traveling and looking for a product.
- Increased Storage Space: By implementing a warehouse organization system, especially one that allows for vertical storage, you’ll be able to free up space for more inventory. A vertical storage system can help you reduce clutter, free up floor space and store a larger inventory of products.
- Better Warehouse Inventory Management: When your warehouse is organized, you can manage your inventory more effectively. When items are where they’re supposed to be, you can control your inventory levels and associated costs accurately. Similar items are grouped together in designated storage areas, helping you avoid shortages and identify products that are no longer popular with consumers.
- Improved Impression: When your warehouse or fulfillment center is organized, it becomes a safe and secure work environment. A clean workspace leaves a more favorable, professional impression with your customers, suppliers, stockholders and employees.
- Improved Bottom Line: By increasing productivity with an organized warehouse, you can improve your bottom line by increasing your throughput, reducing safety hazards, using available vertical space, organizing your inventory, and enhancing your work place environment. With the additional space that organizing your warehouse often provides, you may be able to add new items to your product line, keep more of your best-selling items on hand and increase your revenue stream.
Warehouse Organization Ideas
The benefits of an organized warehouse are attractive and potentially lucrative, but you may be hesitant to make changes in your workplace because you’re unsure about where to start. Whether you have a small warehouse space or your space consumes 100,000 square feet or more, employing some warehouse organization ideas and tips can make getting and staying organized easier.
Here are some warehouse storage ideas that can help you get started:
- Make Receiving a Priority: When errors are made in receiving, it can cause mistakes down the line. If new products aren’t accounted for and stocked accurately and quickly, it will be more difficult to keep an accurate count of your inventory. If products aren’t where they’re supposed to be or the shelves are empty unnecessarily, it can cause your pickers to make mistakes or fail to fulfill orders. If you make receiving a priority, you can reduce future errors and manage your inventory more efficiently.
Give the people who receive new products enough room to process the items. If you receive new products around the same times on certain days of the week, make sure you schedule enough employees to process your deliveries accordingly. Your staff should break down boxes and recycle them as they label and stock new deliveries to avoid clutter from accumulating. Appoint someone to be in charge of quality control as well. This person should double check each of your deliveries and make sure you received the amount of product you paid for, and that it was put in the right locations in your facility.
- Label Products: Using product labels in your warehouse can also help you to manage your inventory better and reduce picking errors. If you label your products with SKUs, or stock-keeping units, for example, your employees will be able to identify what they need simply by looking at or scanning the SKU on the relevant boxes with a hand-held device. If you’re using an automated inventory tracking system, the system can adjust your inventory level of individual items as they are pulled from your shelves.
Train your staff to place labels in the same place on every box they process. You can take another step toward efficient warehouse management by putting digital pictures of the product that is in a given box or bin on the outside of the container. This enables your employees to see what’s inside of the container without having to open it. This will increase your staff’s efficiency and keep clutter and messiness to a minimum.
- Eliminate Unauthorized Traffic: Depending on your policies, procedures and setup, it may be possible for non-employees to access your warehouse space. If someone orders a pizza for lunch, for instance, you might wind up seeing a delivery person wandering around your floor in an attempt to find a hungry employee. In an attempt to be helpful, one of your front office staff might end up in the warehouse looking for a given product as well. To keep everyone safe and ensure your inventory count is accurate, you should prevent non-employees from accessing your warehouse floor. People who aren’t authorized to be in your facility won’t be able to go through boxes or disrupt your workflow by acting as inadvertent barriers to the products your employees need to fulfill orders.
Consider giving your warehouse staff members an identifier that is clearly visible, so you can identify someone who isn’t supposed to be in your warehouse with a simple glance. If your employees all wear the same colorful t-shirts, ball caps or vests, it will make it easy for you to immediately recognize a person who should not be on the floor.
- Use Automation: According to a study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group, the number of advanced industrial robots used in workplaces throughout the United States is expected to increase 10 percent annually in the coming years. Even though the cost of these robots is expected to drop by an estimated 22 percent by 2025, the initial cost of buying a robot is substantial. The investment required to purchase an advanced industrial robot makes them impractical for many businesses.
Although using robots can cut your labor costs substantially, it will still take some time for you to recoup your investment in them. You can still automate your warehouse with conveyor belts and an affordable automated storage and retrieval system, however. The automated vertical storage solutions offered by Summit Storage Solutions are fully customizable, and they provide many benefits including increased safety and reduced product damage and theft.
- Implement Technology: Technological advances such as hand-held product scanners have helped to make efficient inventory management possible for warehouses around the world. Using the latest technology in your facility may help you to further improve your efficiency. The overall value provided by the Industrial Internet of Things, or IIoT, is expected to reach $15 trillion by 2030. In addition to increasing your efficiency, tapping into resources such as the IIot can help you recognize new potential revenue streams, manage risk and improve your warehouse’s compliance with safety regulations.
- Create Ergonomic Workstations: According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration, musculoskeletal disorders, such as carpal tunnel syndrome and muscle strains, are one of the top causes of injuries and illnesses in the workplace. To minimize the occurrence of these injuries, design your employees’ workstations in accordance with the specific jobs they perform. You should also incorporate ergonomic equipment to limit the stress that performing repetitive tasks puts on your staff’s bodies. Proper workspace design and the use of ergonomic equipment will help reduce employee exhaustion and increase productivity as a result. It can also improve the morale of your staff members because they demonstrate that you care about their well-being and are willing to invest in keeping them as healthy as possible.
- Adjust Picking and Traffic Patterns: The chances are good that your customers’ needs have changed since you first opened your doors. With that in mind, you should review your picking methods and traffic patterns and adjustment them if necessary. If you’re using a single order method but multi-order picking will expedite order fulfillment, it’s time to make a change, for example.
You can use software to sequence your orders and redirect the traffic in your warehouse to ensure your employees are taking the shortest, safest routes possible to retrieve the items they need to complete their open orders. You can also create a mini warehouse of sorts by keeping the 20 percent of your products that are used to fill 80 percent of your orders nearest to your packing area and close to each other. As you review your staff’s travel patterns, take some time to ensure they are free from time-consuming obstacles such as debris or equipment that isn’t currently being used.
- Standardize Shipping Cartons: Depending on your operation, you may have an assortment of cartons employees use to ship their orders. Reducing the number of options your employees have to choose from can help your staff make the appropriate choice faster and fulfill orders more rapidly. Having only two or three standard box sizes for your most popular items and only a handful of custom ones for special items that are ordered infrequently will help optimize your shipping expenses, as well as reduce the amount you spend on shipping cartons.
- Design an Incentive Program: One of the more valuable warehouse organization ideas may also be one of the simplest: design an incentive program for your employees. To implement an effective incentive program, identify the key performance indicators you’ll use to evaluate the work of each employee in your warehouse. You must be able to apply the same indicators to everyone accurately, fairly and equitably in order to avoid future complaints about favoritism. You should ensure that your indicators include accurate measures for tasks, as well as measures for fulfilling orders quickly and accurately, too. It’s also important for your employees to complete tasks that are necessary to keep your facility organized, including cleaning and moving misplaced items to the correct location.
Once you know how you’re going to review your staff’s performance on an individual basis, you must then determine how you’re going to reward the employees who meet or surpass the performance benchmarks you’ve set. Don’t worry about an incentive program being too expensive. The rewards you provide don’t have to cost a lot of money. Instead, they can be as simple as letting someone park in a prime parking spot exclusively for a week, allowing the employee to drive a prized automobile for a day, or making a small donation to the person’s favorite charity. If you want to know what rewards will motivate your employees to exceed your expectations, ask them for some ideas directly.
Vertical Warehouse Storage Ideas
Occupational Health and Safety reports that using a pallet racking system can create a safer working environment for your employees and improve the efficiency of your warehouse operation. A pallet racking system can increase the amount of floor space that’s available for use because it stores your inventory vertically instead of horizontally, optimizing the space between your facility’s floor and ceiling. This type of system can help you keep your warehouse organized, making it look like there is an actual rhyme and reason to your storage area, because it prevents you from storing an overwhelming number of horizontal lines of product on your floor.
While a conventional pallet racking system may work for many warehouses, it might not be the right choice for you if the products in your inventory cannot be stored on or removed from standard pallets quickly, conveniently or safely. At Summit Storage Solutions, we know that your storage needs are unique to your inventory and industry. Since 1992, we have been customizing storage solutions for businesses just like yours with our wide range of welding and metal fabrication capabilities, which have helped our clients increase their net profits.
No matter what kind of items you receive and ship from your warehouse, we can design and manufacture a custom automated vertical storage carousel to the exact specifications you need for your products and storage space. Whether your inventory consists of carpets, clothing, spooled goods, raw materials or something else, we’ll create an application-specific vertical storage carousel that will optimize your available space, save you time and money, increase your operation’s efficiency and improve your facility’s organization, inventory control and workplace safety.
Our most popular vertical storage carousels include the following customizable models:
- Vertical Garment Storage Carousels: With a simple up and down operational setup, our vertical garment storage carousels enable you to store and retrieve the garments you need efficiently without using lifts or ladders. Ideal for use in retail establishments and warehouses alike, this type of vertical storage carousel enables you to hang your garments instead of storing them in boxes to limit damage and loss.
- Print Cylinder Storage Carousels: Our print cylinder storage carousels can be customized to store print cylinders of any size. A single operator can work this type of carousel with minimal training, eliminating the need to risk an injury to your employees by having them bend to retrieve cylinders to move them onto a cart for transport.
- Carpet, Textile and Vinyl Roll Storage Carousels: Our vertical roll storage carousels can help save up to 70 percent of your floor space and reduce damage to your inventory because they keep rolls off your warehouse’s floor. This type of carousel can hold rolls that weigh up to 1,200 pounds and make them accessible to your staff without the need for a forklift.
- Wire & Cable Spool Carousels: With this type of carousel, you can reduce the amount of floor space you need to store your inventory. Our ergonomics-friendly spool carousels bring the particular product your employees need to access to a workable, waist-high height, preventing workers from bending over or using a ladder to retrieve the materials they need.
- Tire Storage Carousels: Combining the best aspects of storing tires vertically and horizontally, our tire storage carousels require less space than other storage methods while making it easy for your employees to retrieve the specific tires they need safely. Fully customizable, our tire storage carousels can hold tires up to 33-inches in size, and they can be tailored to hold tires with unusual measurements or for another use. Given their flexibility, our tire storage carousels are perfect for tire shops, wholesalers, car dealerships, trucking companies and warehouses.
- Tray & Shelving Carousels: Our vertical shelving carousels make it easy and efficient to store goods of different sizes and shapes in one well-organized location. Our in-house engineers and fabricators can customize our tray and shelving carousels for use in retail, manufacturing and warehouse environments, among many others.
Returnable Rack Solutions by Summit Storage Solutions
With our in-house packaging engineers and unrivaled manufacturing capabilities, we can create custom returnable rack solutions for your product packaging, storage and handling needs. Form, fit and function are the bases we use in everything we design for every one of our clients. Our returnable racks will make your operation more efficient because they can be designed to accommodate goods that are difficult to transport or store because they don’t fit in conventional crates or on standard wooden pallets.
Summit Storage Solutions is one of the top makers of returnable and reusable shipping and storage racks in the industry. Our returnable and reusable steel racks can be used repeatedly. When compared to wooden pallets and crates, our racks are environmentally friendly and leave less of a discernable footprint on the environment. Our reusable racks provide a return on your investment in various ways, including saving you the money you would have to spend to dispose of alternatives such as pallets.
Contact Summit Storage Solutions
If you’re looking for warehouse storage ideas and want to improve your warehouse’s organization, contact Summit Storage Solutions today. Our unwavering goal is to provide the highest quality products while providing unbeatable customer service to all of our clients, old and new. Since we first opened our doors in 1992, our core value and the foundation of each of our business relationships has been the following: “We are not just a supplier; we are an extension of your success.”
Whether you have a small warehouse space or your facility is a large commercial space, we know how to organize your warehouse and streamline your operations with our automated vertical storage carousels and our returnable and reusable racks. When you work with Summit Storage Solutions to achieve efficient warehouse management, you’re working with a partner who is as invested in your success as you are. Contact us to learn more today!