All warehouses can benefit from improved organisation, so here are four top tips.
1. Use ‘lean’ methods to rationalise
Many organisations have successfully ‘leaned’ their work processes. Made popular by Toyota, this philosophy is very relevant to warehouses. Unlike many business philosophies that are aimed at information processing, this was developed in a manufacturing process environment.
Briefly, it involves smoothing out the workflow so that everything is ready at the right time and the process runs efficiently. Any waste of time or resources is eliminated.
Does your warehouse run like an efficient Japanese car plant? If not, you may benefit from finding out more about ‘lean’ – there are lots of courses available. People are often initially resistant; however, once they ‘get it’, they become quite evangelical about it.
2. Get pallet racks – they are much more than shelves
Pallet racking is a whole different way of organising the warehouse rather than simply a shelving system. After the initial outlay, industrial shelving in Ireland can reduce costs considerably. Part of the reason for this is that much more stock can be stored in the vertical space in the warehouse. Some companies have scrapped plans for a second warehouse once they realised how much more they could fit in their current one with a proper pallet racking system from a specialist such as https://www.rackzone.ie/shelving/industrial-residential-shelving.
3. Consider simple solutions such as wire containers
In addition to pallet racking, add in some low-tech, low-cost extras; for example, wire containers can hold items that are not suitable for the pallet system. They are durable and low in weight, can be stacked, and many types are strong enough to store nearly 2,000kg. As wire containers are both stackable and collapsible, they are extremely economical on space when not in use.
4. Ergonomics is economics
The MHI – the US’s logistics, material handling and supply chain association that brings together businesses in these areas – has called ergonomics the ‘backbone of a more productive warehouse’. Pun intended? Probably, but there is a serious point: as lean processes take over, workers need everything to hand in the warehouse, whether this is information or tools. For efficiency and cost-effectiveness, ergonomics is key.
Hopefully these four hints have got you thinking. There will be more thought-provoking tips in the next instalment.