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Warehouse Storage Strategies – Part II  

By: Larry Rausch – Vice President – CBF Industries

In Part II in our series of warehouse storage strategies, we will take a deeper dive into ways to optimize your operations, provide a safer worker environment and reduce your overall operating costs.  From receiving to using automation, we hope this post will provide helpful information that you can employ in your operation today.  Happy reading.

Regardless of the units your facility receives and stores, employing some warehouse storage strategies and tips can make getting and staying organized easier. Here are some warehouse storage ideas that can help you get started.

Technology. Technology. Technology.

Many 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. In addition to increasing your efficiency, tapping into resources such as the IoT can help you recognize new potential revenue streams, manage risk and improve your warehouse’s safety procedures.

Product Labeling Is The Key

The use of product labels in your warehouse can also help you to manage your inventory more efficiently while reducing picking errors. 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. All of this will increase your staff’s efficiency and keep clutter and messiness to a minimum.

Only Allow Authorized Traffic 

Regardless of your policies, procedures and setup, it critical to minimize unauthorized traffic in your warehouse.  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. A common practice is to have all your warehouse staff wear the same colorful t-shirts, ball caps or vests, as it will make it easy for you to immediately recognize a person who should not be on the floor.

Automation Is The Hidden Profit Center

Employing automation such as robots can significantly cut your labor costs. Although your pay back may take some time, in the end they can make a huge impact on your bottom line. You can also automate your warehouse with conveyor systems, which are an affordable automated storage and retrieval solution. The automated vertical storage solutions that are available on the market provide many benefits including increased safety and reduced product damage and theft.

Standardize Shipping Cartons

Standardizing shipping cartons is the key to speed and error reduction. 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.

Drive Efficiencies Through Employee Incentives

Instituting employee incentive programs is a great way to increase worker performance.  This could include additional pay for fulfilling orders quickly and accurately. However, it is also important for your employees to complete the day-to-day tasks that are necessary to keep your facility organized, including cleaning and moving misplaced items to the correct location.

Don’t be too worried about an incentive program being too expensive because 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. Another key is ask your employees what will motivate them.  This will make your incentive program a huge success.

Conclusion

As discussed in Part I in our series, going vertical is the key to an efficient warehouse storage strategy. In Part II, we discussed the importance of such things as automation, product labeling and carton size standardization. While these may seem obvious, most times they are  overlooked.

We hope this post provided you helpful information as it relates to leveraging your warehouse storage strategies. To speak with one of our technical experts, please call 1-216-229-9300. And thank you for reading our post.

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